Harsh Winter Delays Opening of Bloomingdale Trail

The Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7-mile trail that runs along Bloomingdale Avenue from Ridgeway Avenue to Ashland Avenue, won't open for another year.

The trail was scheduled to open this fall, but the record-breaking winter delayed progress, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld explained.

"The winter was brutal. It interrupted our construction schedule. We were not able to make as much progress during those winter months as we expected," Scheinfeld said. "There's so much structure involved. You have viaducts that are 100 years old. You have a lot of Earth work and excavation. We had to relocate utilities."

The project broke ground last August and as of Friday was about 45 percent completed, she said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office last year said the trail will be the centerpiece of The 606, a network of five ground-level parks connected to the trail, as well as an observatory, event plaza and art installations. The term "606" uses the prefix of Chicago's zip code.

Scheinfeld beamed when she spoke of the grand vision of the plan: an area for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy more than 250,000 plantings in an urban oasis.

"It's going to be a fantastic community asset," she said.

The final $9 million of the predicted $46 million project costs was raised in early 2012 from donations from Boeing Co. and CNA, as well as the Chicago Park District.

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