New Champaign Overpass To Welcome Pedestrians, Bikes
By Jim Meadows
Pedestrians and cyclists will have an easier time crossing I-57 in southwest Champaign, once an overpass for Windsor Road is rebuilt.
The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to build the overpass next year, at a budgeted cost of about $2.74 million. The current overpass has room for two traffic lanes and no shoulders. The new overpass will include two 12-foot-wide traffic lanes, plus five-foot-wide sidewalks and six-foot-wide bicycle lanes in both directions.
Assistant City Engineer Dave Clark says the city lobbied IDOT officials to make the overpass correspond to the city's Complete Streets program when the structure underwent its scheduled re-build. He says the state's original plan was to replace the old overpass with a new one of identical dimensions.
“That’s not acceptable for us, given the demand for multi-modal travel”, said Clark. “We’ve got pedestrians, we’ve got bicyclists in addition to the automobiles. Since these structures are going to be in place for 50 years or so, they need to be able to serve the needs now as well into the future.“
The Champaign City Council votes Tuesday night on paying a design firm up to $414,000 to design the approach on both sides of the Windsor Street overpass. Like the overpass itself, the approach will also include space for pedestrians and bicyclists. City officials hope both the overpass and the approach project will be substantially completed by November of 2013.
Clark says the Windsor Avenue overpass will be the first in the city to include designated lanes for foot and bicycle traffic. But he notes that people are already walking and cycling on the overpass as more people live and work in the area.