MILLINGTON – After re-opening with vehicle weight restrictions last year, the Millington Road bridge will close again next week.
Kendall County Highway Engineer Fran Klaas said the bridge is still being supported by its old piers, which is why there was a weight limit enacted as it temporarily reopened. He said temporary supports will have to be put in as contractors knock out the old piers and replace them with new concrete piers.
While the bridge is put on temporary supports, Klaas said, there can’t be any live loads on the bridge – hence the closure starting Monday, July 6.
"[The subcontractor] didn’t want to do it before because of the Fourth of July weekend," Klaas said. "That’s why it’s after."
Klaas said the rest of the project could be completed in less than a month if the area just gets normal weather without any huge rainfall – but he noted highway officials kept seeing historical rains in the last couple of years.
“We’re hoping this time they can get it done,” Klaas said.
Klaas said there isn't much left for the project as a whole. He said contractors would just need a few weeks of dry weather to get done what they need to get done.
“Once it’s on temporary supports, there’s no going back. … they will have to finish this project before they re-open it again,” Klaas said.
In the meantime, Klaas said, he is asking people to respect the closure for safety's sake.
The update comes after Don Ernat, highway engineer for LaSalle County, had said in December there would be a five-ton weight limit for the bridge as it temporarily reopened.
Ernat said in October LaSalle County was working with the Illinois Department of Transportation and contractor D Construction of Coal City to determine the feasibility of opening the project back up to traffic for the winter.
The about $1.6 million Millington Road bridge is a combined project between Kendall and LaSalle counties.
The bridge, which spans the Fox River in Millington at the Kendall-LaSalle county border, has been closed for more than two years after the Illinois Department of Transportation initially closed the bridge in May 2017. That was after officials discovered a scour hole under the north pier of the bridge during a routine bridge inspection.
County officials previously attributed the project delays to consistently high water levels from rainfall after one resident brought the matter back up to the County Board in June 2019. County officials also said in July 2019 they were told that, even though water levels had dropped, the waters were still moving too fast for contractors to be in them, since they still have to take chainsaws to tree limbs and brush at the site.
The project had started back up again later in July 2019 but it was delayed again in September due to water levels rising again from more rainfall, according to county officials.
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