Indian Trail bridge is (finally) open!

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — The City celebrated the end of five-year journey of planning, permitting engineering and constructing the Indian Trail bridge with a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 16, which included the mayor, dignitaries and the public.

“Indian Trail really is an artery in our community . . . that is a critical, critical street,” Mayor Tom Weisner explained.

Eighty percent of the $9.5 million project was funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation Highway Bridge Program fund. The remaining 20 percent was paid for using local motor fuel tax funds.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, center, along with officials, celebrate the Oct. 16 opening of the Indian Trail bridge. Originally constructed in 1963, the bridge was in much needed repair. More than 21,000 vehicles travel across the bridge each day. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, center, along with officials, celebrate the Oct. 16 opening of the Indian Trail bridge. Originally constructed in 1963, the bridge was in much needed repair. More than 21,000 vehicles travel across the bridge each day. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said in 1963, when the Indian Trail bridge was first being constructed, he rode his bike past the bridge construction on his way to Marmion Academy, then located on Lake Street. The bridge opened to traffic Oct. 16.   Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said in 1963, when the Indian Trail bridge was first being constructed, he rode his bike past the bridge construction on his way to Marmion Academy, then located on Lake Street. The bridge opened to traffic Oct. 16. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora’s Director of Public Works Ken Schroth said there were 40,000 man hours needed to construct the bridge, and nearly 10,000 hours of design engineering an supervision.

He explained millions of dollars were saved after the bridges existing piers, and majority of its steel were reused. Despite weather-related delays, the project was completed on time through the efforts of D Construction.

The bridge now has wider sidewalks, outside lanes to help facilitate bicycle traffic and LED lighting.

In the past 10 years, the City of Aurora has rebuilt 10 bridges. Weisner said nationally, out of every nine bridges in the nation is considered structurally deficient. Even if that is the national statistic, Weisner said that number won’t be seen in Aurora. “Not on our watch,” he added. “You cannot ignore infrastructure. If you do that, you do it at great cost to the community, and to the future of your community.”

Officials, including Reps. Linda Chapa-LaVia and Stephanie Kifowit, Sen. Linda Holmes, and Rep. Bill Foster collectively thanked the taxpayers of Aurora, who, through their tax dollars, funded the motor fuel tax.

“Without the tax dollars [taxpayers] pay into the coffer of the state of Illinois, we would not be standing on this amazing, beautiful bridge. The taxpayers make the blood pump within the hearts that exist in this community,” Chapa LaVia explained.

Rep. Stephanie Kifowit looking to November

Rep. Stephanie Kifowit
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
Looking to the November election, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, center, held a fundraiser Aug. 27 where she discussed with guests her support of freezing property taxes and desire to help America’s veterans.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at pat@foxvalleylabornews.com

MONTGOMERY — State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit is gearing up for the 84th district race this fall and says the No. 1 issue in the district is property taxes.

“There are a couple of bills I support now that will freeze property taxes in the district, it’s definitely the No. 1 issue right now,” she said.

Kifowit hosted a fundraiser in Montgomery Aug. 27. With about six weeks until the November ballot, her campaign is in full swing to face Republican challenger Krishna Bansal.

Her campaign includes the usual walks, phone calls, and mailers.

“It’s been a busy summer so far, we’ve been going door to door in the district, knocking on doors, getting the word out,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of good things going and we’re working hard.”

Kifowit, a veteran of the Marine Corps, sponsored House Joint Resolution 91 in May, which will establish the Task Force on preventing Veterans’ Suicide.

The task force will investigate and form prevention recommendations concerning the issue of suicide among returning Illinois veterans from active service along with methods for prevention. According to a recent U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs study, an estimated 22 veterans nationwide commit suicide every day.

“That was a very important issue that needed to be tackled,” she said.

Kifowit is a member of the Heroin Taskforce to address the increase in overdose deaths. She also supports Mutual Ground and their mission to end Domestic Violence along with supporting Hope For Tomorrow’s Veterans Home and many other non profits in the 84th District.

She is active with the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84, and several years ago worked to save the Independence Day Parade from budgetary cuts by the City of Aurora by creating a partnership between the City and Post 84. She also is a life member of the Marine Corps League and the Woman Marine Association.

On everyone’s mind, and every politician’s mind, is the economy and job creation. Kifowit said houses are starting to sell in the area, which is a good sign of a turnaround.

“Main Street is always a little bit behind Wall Street,” she said. “Getting the economy going is a big priority.”