1,300 foot pedestrian bridge planned for former railway over Lake Chapin

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BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- The village of Berrien Springs is ready to break ground on a 1,300-foot, pedestrian-only bridge that would be one-of-a-kind in Berrien County.

The plans are to turn a portion of abutments leftover from the Interurban Railroad – which used to run from Niles to St. Joseph – into a state-of-the-art bridge for people throughout Michiana. 

“We need to come up with between $5 and $6 million to make it happen, but we’re dead set on doing it,” said Jesse Hibler, Berrien Springs Village President.

Hibler hopes in just a few years, people will be able to walk or bike from Berrien Springs all the way down to Elkhart. 

This concept for the bridge would eventually connect to where the current Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail ends in Niles. 

“The way we designed it was to have each one of those concrete piers with a circle for benches and people could ride their bike, sit, because the view out there is incredible,” said Hibler. “You can see all the way out to the dam and then all the way up river.”

The village is working with Friends Of Berrien County Trails, MDOT and the Berrien County Road Department, but is also hoping for your help in bringing this vision to life. 

“We’re going to set up some sort of GoFundMe where people can donate small amounts, then the village is going to donate a very large amount, Berrien Township, Oronoko Township are planning to donate, we’ve been in talks with the school system about their involvement somehow,” said Hibler.

They also plan to incorporate kayaks and loading docks for small boats.

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