Estimates for the Blain Gilbertson Family Heritage Pedestrian Bridge—the footbridge that soon will span the Rock River downtown—show construction will cost nearly $500,000 less than originally planned.

Monday night, the Janesville City Council will consider approving a $1.45 million contract with Kraemer North America for bridge construction.

The project is scheduled to begin in June and could be completed by December, Engineering Director Mike Payne said.

The bridge itself is being paid for through ARISEnow, a public-private group promoting downtown revitalization. The city will kick in roughly $92,000 for infrastructure work on the river’s east side, which will undergo a face-lift in 2020.

ARISEnow already has transferred funds to the city to finance the bridge. Janesville will not need to borrow money and get reimbursed by the organization later, Payne said.

Renderings for the 230-foot bridge, released last month, show a sail-like structure at the center. It will cover a widened middle section that will give people room to sit and linger above the river.

Design consultants initially thought the bridge would cost $1.9 million. They based that on the ongoing Milwaukee Street bridge replacement by Zenith Tech, a company whose bid for the footbridge landed squarely on the $1.9 million estimate, Payne said.

The city’s portion will expedite some improvements related to the 2020 east-side project. It will coordinate electrical, sewer and parking lot work with bridge construction so it doesn’t need to redo anything next year, he said.

Payne wasn’t sure if the bridge would have to close once the 2020 work begins.

The 2020 project will complement work already finished on the west side of the river.

The east side will feature additional “park amenities” and a reconfigured parking lot along South Water Street, he said.

The earliest possible starting date for the footbridge is June 3. Crews need to wait until most of the Milwaukee Street bridge is replaced so there is enough to room to stage construction equipment, he said.

The council also will consider approving two other contracts Monday—one for bike trail repairs and another for utility upgrades.

A $1.65 million contract with Bjoin Limestone will repair or replace nearly 500 sanitary, storm and water structures in conjunction with the annual street repair program. Those upgrades are scattered throughout the city, Payne said.

W.N. Yoss Construction would repair a section of bike trail near Rockport and Afton roads for $60,000.

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