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Eldamain Road bridge over Fox River between Yorkville and Plano won’t open until spring

Construction of the Eldamain Road bridge over the Fox River will not be complete until spring 2023.

Work on the project was proceeding so rapidly earlier this year that Kendall County officials were moving up their forecasts for completion and expected a ribbon-cutting for the span before the end of the year.

Then on June 7, a seven-week quarry workers’ strike began that brought production of concrete to a grinding halt across northern Illinois.

The strike came just as construction workers were in the process of pouring the 8-foot-thick concrete deck for the 1,557-foot span.

Kendall County Highway Engineer Fran Klaas told the Kendall County Board on Oct. 18 that it now appears that the bridge will not be finished before the cold weather sets in.

“It does not look like we’ll be open this year,” Klaas said. Instead, work will resume in the early spring and the project is now expected to be completed in May or June.

“We’re back on schedule,” quipped County Board Chairman Scott Gryder after the meeting.

In fact, the project remains ahead of the original schedule calling for completion of the bridge project by mid-summer 2023.

Klaas said concrete work remains, including parapet walls and pavement for the bridge approaches. Lighting and drainage system also have yet to be installed, Klaas said.

However, work on the Fox Road roundabout to the south of the bridge is nearly finished, and the roadway is expected to open soon. The extension along West High Point Road south to Route 71 is slated to open before the end of the year, Klaas said.

The Eldamain bridge is just the eighth Fox River crossing site in Kendall County and the first since the opening of the Orchard Road bridge near Oswego in 2001. At 1,557 feet, the Eldamain span becomes the county’s longest.

The new north-south river crossing site is about halfway between the Route 47 bridge in downtown Yorkville and the Fox River Drive bridge just south of Plano, a 5-mile gap.

When the bridge opens, it is expected to change driving patterns and promote economic development in Kendall County

The project extends from River Road just north of the Fox River to Route 71 and farther south on West High Point Road.

The key connection created by the bridge will be from U.S. Route 34 to Illinois Route 71, two of Kendall County’s principal east-west thoroughfares.

At the southern end of the project, drawings have been rendered to show a future Lisbon Road extension, making a connection with Walker Road to the south, but there are no immediate plans to carry out the extension.

To the north, the existing Eldamain Road extends all the way to Kane County.

Eldamain Road is the boundary between Plano and Yorkville. Both municipalities and the county are looking at the road as an engine of economic development.

Motorists traveling the extension south of the bridge will find themselves on a wide-open, two-lane roadway, with the traffic lanes separated by an 18-foot median with concrete curbs. On the outside will be a wide shoulder and an open ditch drainage system.

The extension will intersect with Fox Road, just north of the railroad tracks, at a point where the east-west roadway takes a short jog on a north-south axis, linking with West High Point Road to the south.

Instead of a conventional intersection, the connection at Eldamain and Fox roads will be a roundabout, allowing traffic to flow in one direction around a central island, increasing safety and eliminating the need for a traffic signal.

Initially, the roundabout at Eldamain and Fox roads will have legs on the north, south and west sides. An eastern leg could be added later.

The bridge includes about 5 million pounds of structural steel and 1 million pounds of steel rebar.

The $35 million project came in under the budget estimate by $10 million, Klaas said.

As bid out, the cost of the bridge itself is about $18 million, while the roadwork comes in at another $17 million, Klaas said.

Construction for the bridge structure began March 10, 2021.

Kendall County Highway Engineer Fran Klaas inspects the construction progress on the Eldamain Road bridge. (Mark Foster --

Kendall County Highway Engineer Fran Klaas inspects construction progress on the Eldamain Road bridge this past summer. (Mark Foster —

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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