SPRING VALLEY — Area residents were invited to a public meeting Wednesday evening at city hall to review preliminary plans and details of the upcoming $25.1 million Route 89 bridge replacement project.
The open house setting allowed residents to walk around and view maps and diagrams to get a better visual of how engineers plan to build a new bridge just east of the current structure before demolishing the old one — all while maintaining traffic over the bridge during construction.
Ted Fultz, location and environment studies engineer of the Illinois Department of Transportation, was one of many representatives available to explain the three phases of the project.
He explained how his team is currently finishing up with Phase 1, which required engineers to develop a scope of the project, build a plan of how to construct the new bridge and bring public attention to the plans. With Phase 1 coming to an end, IDOT engineers are still seeking public comment from residents with concerns or suggestions about the construction process. The public comment period ends April 24.
Phase 2 will produce plans and specifications for things like, how much rock, earth and steel will be needed for the project. Fultz explained this time will also be when engineers will purchase easements and right-of-ways needed to shift the road and bridge slightly to the east. Phase 2 is expected to take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete.
Phase 3 will be onsite construction of the bridge.
Blueprints of the project show the new bridge will provide a wider deck space for traffic. The current bridge is only 22 feet, 8 inches wide. The new bridge deck will provide two driving lanes — each 12 feet wide. The shoulder lanes will be 8 feet wide.
Engineers also plan to slightly raise Route 89 to reduce flooding. The current roadway has occasionally been closed due to flooding over the bridge. Also, at the request of the city, the sidewalk coming from the CSX Railroad to the entrance of Barto’s Landing will be extended.
Looking at the sufficiency rating of the current historic bridge, it ranks 37.3 on a 100 scale — 100 being a new bridge.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a safety issues with the bridge,” explained Fultz. “That number takes into consideration things such as too narrow, the design of the bridge being a truss bridge … If it were completely unsafe we would post it and put signs up or close the bridge. We do inspect the bridge on a regular basis, but it’s at an age where it does need to be removed and replaced.”
The truss bridge was determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Because of this, we did offer the structure to anyone who was willing to take it and go elsewhere with it if they wanted to keep it,” explained Fultz. “We had no takers and based on its condition, it was requested to go ahead and demolish the bridge after it was properly recorded for its historical purposes.”
The current structure was opened to traffic in 1937. Approximately 5,650 vehicles cross the bridge daily.
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