ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Bikers, joggers,and anyone simply lookuing for a place to walk now has a new option–the Jefferson Street Pedestrian Bridge. However, it won’t look exactly the same as most people remember.
After five years of being closed to the public, the Jefferson Street Bridge is now open for people to walk, bike, and job. 3rd Ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg was on-hand for the ribbon cutting and said he was excited to share the good news.
“For the past five years I’ve been asked countless countless times on if the bridge is going to open, when it’s going to open,” said Ald. Tuneberg.
The total cost in repairing the bridge totaled $2.5 Million. A Large portion of the money was covered by the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant. Another portion was covered by the Rockford Park District and Region 1 Planning Council.
The new design includes aluminum rain canopies and 53 LED lights along the path to brighten the bridge.
This improvement is just another example of the value brought to this community by the park district,” expained Dan Jacobson, the superintendent of operations for the Rockford Park District.
For new nearby businesses like coffee shop Velvet Robot, it means another way to get people to walk through their doors.
“As you look at Rockford as a whole it’s really neat because we’re kind of a town divided and that ‘s the kind of walking bridge that unites both sides of town. So, as a place that strives on diversity we’re excited to have people have people have quicker access where they don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car,” explained Velvet Robot owner Justin Carner.
Carner says the news couldn’t have come at a better time and says he thinks the bridge will be very busy.
“I think it’s going to be a big highly traveled bridge I think especially Friday nights and the time we have events stroll on State we know a lot of people wanted to walk through and haven’t been able to for a couple of years. So yeah I think it’s a good thing for Rockford I’m glad they fixed it instead of tearing it down,” Carner added.
The Rockford City Market says that they’re excited for Friday where organizers say it will add a new dynamic to the weekly event since the bridge provides people a new way to get there.
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