Local dignitaries will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 15 to mark the opening of the $30 million Red Gate Bridge to vehicle traffic as scheduled.
The opening will mark a milestone in15 months of construction and the near completion of an odyssey that began decades ago when a new bridge on the north end of St. Charles first was envisioned.
City officials have said the bridge will not officially be completed until next spring, when work is finished on the pedestrian and bicycle pathway that will connect a bike trail near St. Charles North High School with the Fox River Trail near Pinelands Road and existing trails on either side of the Fox River. But the opening of the bridge to vehicle traffic is significant — it is both on schedule an within budget. The two-lane bridge connects Red Gate Road on the west side of the Fox River with Route 25 near Pinelands Road on the eastern side.
In a release issued Wednesday, the city said the ribbon-cutting on Saturday, Dec. 15, will begin with brief remarks at 10 a.m. in the Commons Area of , followed by the official ribbon-cutting immediately afterward on the bridge at 11 a.m.
“This day has been a long time coming,” Mayor Donald P. DeWitte said in the release. “The Red Gate Bridge will greatly improve transportation for the residents of St. Charles, and our township neighbors in the surrounding area. I am pleased and proud to invite our residents to join us, to witness this milestone event for the city of St. Charles.”
The city broke ground for the bridge in August 2011, using funding from grants, monies the city already had set aside for the project, and a bond issue.
The bridge eventually is expected to see traffic of 15,000 vehicles a day and ease congestion on the Main Street Bridge in downtown St. Charles, as well as improve east-west access on the north side of the city.
In the meantime, the city is bracing for the immediate impact of the bridge opening on Red Gate Road at St. Charles North High School, where traffic congestion — particularly before school in the early weekday mornings, and to a lesser degree after school in the mid-afternoons — has created some issues.
The city and school district have been working together to craft solutions to the issue.
The release asks that anyone planning to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony please RSVP at 630-762-7097 or by email to RedGateBridge@stcharlesil.gov so plans can be made to accommodate those who do.
More information and progress updates on the bridge can be found at www.redgatebridge.org, which includes two project webcam feeds with real-time video of work on the site.