While funding for the replacement of bridges is hard to come by in the state, Peoria County officials are excited about their project on Cloverdale Road.
The county received a grant to replace the Cloverdale bridge, which is located near Krause Road, for $520,000, which includes the $480,000 for actual construction.
"It's kinda a big deal in our world," said Peoria County Engineer Amy McLaren.
The money comes from the lapse pool township bridge program, which "pools" the money not used by governing bodies within four years, which is specifically earmarked for township bridges.
When a bridge replacement can cost $600,000 to $900,00 or more, McLaren said, it is a struggle for townships to be able to use the minimal funds they are allotted.
One of the county's goals is to replace wood-pile bridges like the one on Cloverdale with either steel or concrete pile to avoid the downfall of wood rotting. It also has a wood deck and through time, the bituminous material on the road traps water into the wood.
"That's two strikes against that bridge," McLaren said, adding that the county put a load rating of 5 tons until it is replaced.
Built in 1960, the bridge sees about 900 cars daily. It is termed "functionally obsolete." That term sounds scary, McLaren said, but it is "engineer talk" that means that the bridge is not big enough to handle the traffic of a truck or some farm equipment.
That area of the road is expected to be closed throughout the spring and summer for the update, weather dependent, but county officials try to minimize the closure as farmers go about their work.
County officials regularly inspect the bridges every two to four years, or more frequently if deemed necessary. There are about 100 bridges within the county, but of that number, 75 are the county's responsibility.
Keeping up with the work that needs to be done with the bridges is coupled with actively searching for grants.
"The need exceeds the funding sources. We do the best we have with what we've got," McLaren said.
Residents may recall that the Krause Road bridge near Truitt Road in Hallock Township was closed for almost three years until it was replaced.
"People don't think about the infrastructure until it affects them personally," McLaren said.
The Staab Road bridge in Medina Township is another wood-pile, wood deck bridge that now is listed in good condition and has had some relatively low cost fixes. A wooden beam had either rotted or moved and left a bump about two years ago. A motorist alerted the authorities, which prompted a steel beam to be installed.
The bridge, built in 1956, which carries about 100 cars per day, is now deemed in good condition.
Page 2 of 2 - McLaren encouraged residents to call the county highway department or local road commissioner to report any problems with bridges.
"We are monitoring them. If there is anything that would cause us concern, we (will add a load rating or close the bridge if need be). "We're vigilant on that," McLaren said.