Motorists in the Greater Peoria area will see construction work starting this summer on several Illinois River bridges, most notably a $24.6 million renovation of the Bob Michel Bridge. The bridge will close for eight months to accommodate the long-anticipated redesign that will feature a new 14-foot wide path for pedestrians and bicyclists that will be separated from the traffic lanes by a concrete barrier.
According to IDOT, the work will consist of:
- Sidewalk removal
- Reducing outside shoulders to 3 1/2 feet wide
- Consolidating the bike and pedestrian space to the north side of the bridge
- New LED lighting will be installed
- New bridge deck with concrete overlay and new joints to preserve and extend life of the deck
The 30 year old Bob Michel Bridge handles a traffic load of about 17,000 vehicles each day. Traffic between downtown Peoria and East Peoria will be detoured to the Murray Baker Bridge (Interstate 74) during the construction.
WCBU.org states that traffic will be reduced to a single lane in both directions in preparation for the construction, although the bridge will remain open to bikes and pedestrians.
The project is part of IDOT's six-year plan to upgrade several highways and bridges as part of the $33.2 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program for infrastructure improvements. Rebuild Illinois is making major upgrades possible to seven of the region's bridges.
Work on the new eastbound span of the McClugage Bridge carrying U.S. 150 over the river is getting closer to the finish line with completion on target for next February after significant progress in 2022.
"Crews completed construction on 10 new McClugage Bridge piers last year, and that moves the project within three new piers of the 24 that are required to support the deck of both the main bridge and the ramp (from northbound Adams Street). Workers will complete the bridge substructure in the next several months, and they will be simultaneously constructing the 650 foot arch that will sit on top of the new bridge. The construction of the arch is occurring about 300 yards south of the new bridge site, and it can be identified by the green piling and the steel support towers on the Illinois River."
IDOT Public Information Officer | Paul Wappel
Wappel stated that once it is complete, the arch will be floated into place on barges, then lowered onto the piers on both sides of the navigation channel. Work on the McClugage Bridge hasn't encountered any delays related to supply chain issues, but it's uncertain if that will hold true for other projects. Since each project is different, it is hard to say if there will be any delays on any of these bridge projects.
Lacon, Henry Bridges
IDOT will shut down all traffic on the Illinois 17 bridge on March 18, between Lacon and Sparland until November for a $10 million rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation will include:
- Steel repair
- Bearing rehabilitation
- Joint replacement
- Bridge deck overlay
- Roadway lighting
- Drainage improvements
-Other related miscellaneous work
According to Wappel, some of the special project provisions include some environmental accommodations that will be made to prevent debris -- equipment, tools or any other construction related-materials -- from falling into the Illinois River. That may result in closing the spans, except the main span of the navigation channel, to river traffic at times when that happens.
IDOT's recommended detour will direct drivers north to Illinois 18 and use the bridge at Henry to cross the Illinois River.
Reconstruction plans for the Henry bridge are nearing Phase One of the process with engineering work expected to begin in the late spring or early summer on a project that is estimated at $108 million.
Phase Two -- with development of a final design, construction plans and land acquisition -- is likely to take 2-3 years, putting the start of work on target for 2026 and taking up to three construction seasons to complete.
The projects will be a major benefit to the community and the end results of each and every one of the improvements will be worth it. People need to be patient and allow a little extra time.
Posted by Judy Lamelza