American Public Works Association
2013 Public Works Project of the Year
Award category:
Small Cities/Rural Communities

Bikers and hikers and joggers, oh my!
Project: Red Gate Road Bridge
Managing agency: City of St. Charles, Ill.
Primary consultant: Alfred Benesch & Co.
Primary contractor: McHugh Construction
Cost: $30 million

About an hour west of downtown Chicago lays one of those historical towns with big old houses and lots of shops for tourists that regularly makes “best towns for families” lists. Known as the Pride of the Fox for the river that bisects the central business district, the City of St. Charles is also a popular recreational destination.

Until recently, one route carried 30,000 vehicles -- 50% more than the roadway was designed to handle -- over the river into the vibrant downtown. Today, another river crossing is improving regional traffic flow with 3,200 feet of new roadway that connects two major highways.

The city generated public support by proposing a “double-decker” structure that enables multiple modes of transportation. A cable-stayed pedestrian bridge is supported by the bridge piers beneath a two-lane roadway directly above, separating bicyclists and pedestrians from traffic as they make their way to the region’s forest preserve trails. A 13-foot deck and cantilever lookout points encourage them to slow down and enjoy the view.

Since opening in December, more than 7,000 vehicles are using the Red Gate Road bridge every day, outpacing projections.