IL-106 Florence Bridge could be open again by Spring 2013.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced a tentative timeframe for when the Florence Bridge will be re-opened to traffic.
After receiving an engineering report and weighing its options, the department decided to make repairs to the bridge — which carries Ill. 100 and Ill. 106 over the Illinois River — and expects it could be open by spring.
Roger Driskell, IDOT deputy director and Region 4 engineer, said the department was focused on improvements that would allow the bridge to last longer into the future once it reopens.
“I’m sure it’s not as fast as people would like, but the extent of the repairs that need to be done, it’s not just like a part that can be replaced,” Driskell said. “With a lift bridge such as this, we want to make sure we get everything right.”
The bridge was closed June 28 because the lift mechanism at the top of a support column had moved laterally, impacting the support column and other critical elements, according to transportation officials.
To make repairs, contractors will use a barge-mounted crane to support the bridge as the sheave wheels that support the lift span are removed.
The damaged structural column will then be removed and a newly designed replacement column will be installed. New bearings also will be installed when the sheave wheels and axle shafts are replaced at the top of the towers.
The project is expected to begin this winter, meaning severe weather could delay completion.
“That’ll be the big factor,” Driskell said. “We anticipate needing a barge in the river. If the river freezes up, the barge can’t be moved.”
Driskell said engineers are still finalizing design details. The project should be ready to bid out sometime in November.
An average of 1,300 vehicles used the bridge each day; motorists have to detour to Interstate 72 while the bridge is closed.
The issue with the closure is that you have to drive to the Pittsfield Exit on I 72 which makes it a 20 mile detour to get to the other side of the bridge.
Here's a local news video about the IL-106 bridge closure. Local residents aren't happy about the closing of the Florence Illinois River bridge, even though Pike county is very rural and the I-72 bridge is only 4 miles upstream.
IDOT has closed the Florence bridge yet again, this time for 9 months.
The Florence Bridge, which carries Ill. 100 and Ill. 106 over the Illinois River, is expected to be closed for at least the next nine months.
Motorists are being encouraged to use a marked detour route to Interstate 72.
The bridge was closed June 28 because of structural issues found during a routine inspection. As a safety precaution to motorists and barge traffic on the Illinois River, the bridge was closed indefinitely until a further analysis could be completed.
The Illinois Department of Transportation monitored the lift mechanism of the bridge. During a recent bridge inspection, buckling of a primary support column for the lift portion was discovered. The lift mechanism at the top of a primary support column had moved laterally, impacting the support column and other critical elements, according to transportation officials.
Continued operation of the lift span of the bridge would have caused extensive additional damage to the support column. The bridge was also placed in the fully raised position to maintain barge traffic on the Illinois River.
The Illinois Department of Transportation contracted with the consulting firm of Modjeski and Masters. On July 3, an additional inspection confirmed the bridge must remain closed to traffic to avoid further structural damage.
Modjeski and Masters is investigating the support column buckling and cause of movement regarding the lift mechanism and will continue to work with the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding feasibility and time frame needed to repair the bridge, transportaion officials said.
An average of 1,300 vehicles use the bridge each day.
In the late 1920's and on into the 1930's the state built four Strauss Vertical lift bridges across the Illinois River. Only two--Florence and the Joe Page Bridge at Hardin are still in service. Shippingsport at La Salle and the bridge at Pekin have been replaced. A gasoline engine provided the power to raise the bridge. In later years they converted to electric motors but still used a gasoline engine as a backup source of power. The photos were taken by Art Kistler from IDOT--the photo of the ferry is from 1925; the bridge photos are from 1930.