A local state representative has been in talks with IDOT in regards to finding an answer to the recently-imposed weight limits to the Florence Bridge that could threaten west central Illinois’ economy.
State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer has been speaking with officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation about last week’s announcement of new limits being placed on the Florence Bridge located off Route 106 just west of Winchester. These new weight limits are likely to reduce trucking traffic on Route 106, as they restrict single-axle trucks to 18 tons and dual-axle trucks to 20 tons. Fully-loaded semis can weigh up to approximately 40 tons, and when empty, weigh as much as 15 tons.
The Florence Bridge serves as a crucial route for semi trucks in west central Illinois because of where it allows trucks to cross the Illinois River. And since the new limits will be in place until the bridge is fully repaired, semis could be forced to use the next closest Illinois River crossing, located several miles north on Interstate 72. Davidsmeyer says these limits could have a significant impact on local trucking, particularly with fall harvest approaching.
Davidsmeyer says there are several solutions that they’ve been looking at. He feels it’s also important that the solution is cost-effective.
Davidsmeyer says the project is in the design and production phase, building parts for the fix. He also says that the actual construction on the bridge looks to start in the October time frame. .
Once repairs to the nearly 100 years-old Florence Bridge begin, traffic will be reduced from two-lanes to one-lane, with IDOT using traffic signals on both sides of the bridge. According to IDOT, repairs could take around nine months to complete.