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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • McClugage Bridge project being discussed

  • Half of the McClugage Bridge could be due for a face-lift starting within the next five years, including a third lane of traffic and space for bikes and pedestrians, project leaders said Aug. 20.
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  • Half of the McClugage Bridge could be due for a face-lift starting within the next five years, including a third lane of traffic and space for bikes and pedestrians, project leaders said Aug. 20.
    Local, county and state officials were on hand for a short meeting Aug. 20 at the East Peoria Civic Complex. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Hanson Professional Services Inc. presented the options they are considering for the bridge’s eastbound lane reconstruction as well as some already ruled out.
    The same information was presented at a public meeting Aug. 26 in the Washington Gifted School gymnasium in Peoria.
    Speakers at the Aug. 20 meeting emphasized they are still in the research phase of the project, gathering information such as public
    input as well as conducting an environmental assessment and gathering traffic and accident data. 
    Construction isn’t expected to start before spring 2018 at the earliest and would last about three years.
    While the structure supporting the westbound lanes of the McClugage Bridge was constructed in the 1980s, the eastbound bridge was completed in 1948, with its most recent repairs in 1999.
    “Basically, the bridge is getting old, to put it bluntly,” said Jeff Bushur, environmental specialist with Hanson.
    While repairing the bridge hasn’t been ruled out, engineers said a brand new structure is the more likely outcome.
    Where that bridge will be — on the existing alignment, to the north or to the south — is undecided.
    Some of the goals included in the preliminary plans are to maintain or increase the width and clearance of the bridge to accommodate barge traffic, as well as making room for heavier vehicular traffic and other users.
    The bridge is used by 20,000 drivers in each direction daily, a number expected to increase over time.
    “We don’t think two lanes is going to cut it down the road,” Bushur said.
    The group displayed a rendering of the new bridge showing more than 74 feet across — the current bridge is about 33 feet — with three lanes of traffic, 10-foot shoulders and a 14-foot multi-use path for bike and pedestrian use.
    “The pedestrian part of the bridge will be most useful,” East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It will connect with other trails,” he said, such as the Rock Island Greenway in Peoria and a possible riverfront trail in Tazewell County.
    Project leaders said their intention is to keep the bridge open to traffic for as long as possible through the construction, possibly building the new bridge in phases, but that traffic will be diverted at least down to one lane for part of the project’s duration.
    For more information, visit www.McClugageBridgeProject.com.

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