The Purpose and Need Report explains why the project is being worked on and drives the analysis process by providing goals and measures on which to evaluate potential solutions. The Oak Street Bridge is an important above-grade crossing of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad for Village residents, emergency services, businesses and commuters. The project study team has been collecting traffic and engineering information, as well as working with project stakeholders on the Community Working Group, to identify transportation deficiencies in the area and define the transportation needs of a new grade separated crossing of the railroad. The ideas identified by the Community Working Group can be grouped into five categories:
- Improve Emergency Response Time in the Village: A new Oak Street Bridge should provide hospital access and an unobstructed emergency access route.
- Improve Traffic Operations: A new Oak Street Bridge should improve regional north-south traffic, optimize use for residents, and improve local traffic.
- Maintain System Linkage: A new Oak Street Bridge should improve regional north-south traffic and provide a safe crossing for pedestrians.
- Improve Safety: A new Oak Street Bridge should improve sight lines and provide a safe crossing for pedestrians.
- Improve Durability and Aesthetics: A new Oak Street Bridge should look good and last long.
The Purpose and Need Report can be viewed here and is currently under review by the state and federal agencies that provide oversight on the Oak Street Bridge Replacement Project, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.