IDOT receives public feedback on Florence Bridge project

By Blake Schnitker on December 8 at 7:59am

Residents of Scott and Pike counties had the opportunity to meet with IDOT representatives last night regarding future plans for the Florence Bridge.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is currently in the planning stages for replacing the bridge that runs across the Illinois River at Florence, near the border of Pike and Scott counties and Illinois Routes 100 and 106.

Last night, IDOT representatives laid out the various replacement options that they’ve developed and received feedback from members of the community. In terms of replacing the bridge, IDOT’s Region Four Engineer Jeff South explains the alternative options.

“We started off with about ten or so, and we’ve narrowed it down to basically four with a no-build option. The four alternatives that we’re looking at basically include a (potential) bridge about 100 feet north of the current structure, one about 100 feet south of the current structure, one about 300 feet south of the current structure, and a little bit more of a bypass concept about 4,500 feet south of the current structure, with attaching roadways,” says South.

Back in early August, the Florence Bridge was shut down for a few days. South says that those repairs were made, but explains why IDOT is thinking about the long term condition of the structure.

“The bridge was originally shut down a little bit earlier this year based on some inspection results we had. We fixed those issues, so the bridge is back open and in service. We want to take a look at our options for replacing this structure because the bridge is basically old, it’s structurally deficient, it’s functionally obsolete, and we don’t want to  continue to put a whole lot of money into a structure that isn’t really looking forward into the 21st century,” South explains.

The projected costs of the four replacement alternatives range from about $70 to $78 million dollars. The cheapest construction cost comes with alternative 4A and is estimated at $70.6 million, where a replacement would be placed approximately 100 feet north of the existing bridge. The most expensive option is alternative 4C, which would construct a replacement bridge 100 feet south of the current structure; that comes in at an estimated $77.6 million.

In terms of costs, South explains that IDOT would seek some federal funding for this particular project.

“In general, we would look to have federal participation for this structure. Generally, we would look for eighty-twenty, with the department matching twenty (percent) because it’s our roadway, it’s our bridge, we would intend for most of the money for the match to be ours and have federal participation in it. Some of the side roads, it’s possible that we would need some local participation for improving those, but it depends on the alternative,” says South.

IDOT is approximately two-thirds of the way through the planning phase of the project. The department plans to hold more public meetings similar to last night’s event in the future, as they continue to seek community feedback. To provide online feedback, you can email IDOT at contact@www.florencebridgestudy.com.