In February of 2011 it was discovered that the bridge was no longer
safe for vehicular traffic and it was closed immediately.
then there have been several discussions on what to do about the
bridge. Because the city is working with very tight cash
constraints, and because residents on Oglesby Avenue have not
expressed a desire to have the bridge at all, the council first
decided it would be best to demolish the bridge and save the money
for bridges that are more traveled.
At the time, Mark Mathon was the city engineer, and he estimated
that taking the bridge out and putting up roadblocks would cost
However, when the bids for the project were opened in August, the
costs ranged from $60,000 to $100,000.
In addition, in the time that had elapsed, Prairie Engineers of
Central Illinois had taken on the role of city engineers. Darren
Forgy of that firm had reservations about the bids and the
specifications for the bridge removal.
He said the conceptual design presented in the bid specifications
did not meet with Illinois Department of Transportation standards
for a "turnaround." Specifications need to be adjusted for a
He said the city would need to rebid the project with a different
set of specifications. He also indicated that this would involve
increased costs for the project.
The intent had been to demolish the bridge and build cul-de-sacs
on both sides, then finish out the area to be attractive for
residents in the community.
Later Forgy would suggest that perhaps there was a need for a
cul-de-sac only on the south side because the number of residents on
the north side was limited, and that part of the street could be a
This week, Anderson said the costs for the project seemed to be
piling up and she had to ask if the city could close the bridge
permanently to vehicles without demolishing it. She suggested
placing something such as concrete planters at the edges of the
bridge to stop traffic and still allow for bikes and walkers to use
Forgy said that was perfectly possible, but he cautioned that the
cost of the actual bridge demolition was estimated at only about
$15,000. He said some elevation or grading work might also be
eliminated, but putting in the cul-de-sac and finishing the area to
look attractive would still be pretty costly.
[to top of second column]
The question arose as to whether there was really a need for a
cul-de-sac. Chuck Conzo, city treasurer, asked what the real purpose
of that would be. Forgy said basically to allow large vehicles a
place to turn around without entering a private driveway.
Anderson lives on Oglesby and noted that in all this time, there
has been no cul-de-sac and it didn't seem to be all that big a deal.
However, others commented that there are folks who are disturbed by
vehicles turning around in their driveways, and that should be
considered as well.
David Armbrust talked about how to block the bridge, saying that
on country roads a metal barrier is put up. He said it might not
look too good, but it works.
David Wilmert also questioned if the city should do a cul-de-sac.
He said that in going to that extent, wasn't the city saying that
they would never go back and put a bridge in there again, and was
that something they knew for sure?
Anderson commented that with the cost of a new bridge being
$300,000 to $400,000, she felt like it was something they knew for
sure they would not be doing on Oglesby.
At the end of the discussions, Forgy said he would take
Anderson's suggestion and see what could be done.
[By NILA SMITH]
Past related articles
Feb. 23, 2011 --
Oglesby Avenue bridge needs to be replaced
Sept. 14, 2011 --
Street projects, bridges and budget constraints top concerns for
Feb. 29, 2012 --
City discusses fate of Oglesby Avenue bridge
March 31, 2012 --
City looks at options for Oglesby Avenue bridge
Aug. 18, 2012 --
City prepares to approve infrastructure and sewer projects
Aug. 31, 2012
Forgy: Postpone certain large projects,
develop 5-year infrastructure plan
Sept. 26, 2012 --
Aldermen question engineering costs for
Oglesby Avenue bridge
Oct. 11, 2012 --
Forgy explains the role of a city engineer