That’s the word from IDOT District 6 Bridge Engineer Steve Beran who says it should re-open in March.
He says the bridge was closed last June after crews discovered a primary support column in the lift portion was buckling. The lift machinery at the top of the column was moving laterally, which impacts the column and other critical elements.
“We are in the process of removing the tower sheave wheels, the cables, and we’re going to rebuild that buckled column,” says Beran. “And we’re going to retrofit all four corners of the bridge so that this buckling does not take place ever again.”
Beran says continued operation of the bridge lifting device would have caused extensive damage to the column.
Beran says the weather has cooperated with crews working to fix the bridge and there haven’t been any major problems to speak of.
“No unanticipated problems thus far,” says Beran. “There’s been a couple fabrication snafus but they were minor and they’ve already been corrected. Everything is on schedule.”
The bridge remains in a fully-raised position in order to maintain barge traffic.
Marked detour signs remain posted for the estimated 13-hundred motorists that used the bridge every day.
Traffic is being redirected to the I-72 bridge.