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New Illinois 104 bridge opens in Meredosia

Picture courtesy of Halverson Construction.

The Illinois Department of Transportation was joined by local officials and community leaders today in Meredosia to celebrate the completion and opening of the new Illinois 104 bridge over the Illinois River.

"The new Meredosia bridge will improve safety, better connect communities and strengthen opportunities for commerce," said Gov. Bruce Rauner. "This project is a perfect example of how investing in infrastructure can improve communities overnight while setting the stage for long-term economic growth."

With an aging steel truss and increasing maintenance costs, the old bridge was not only costly to maintain, but also posed safety concerns due to its narrow lanes and lack of shoulders. The previous bridge, built in 1936, will be demolished late this summer.

Construction of the $86.2 million bridge began in 2015. The bridge was built on a new alignment while the old bridge remained open, resulting in minimal impact to traffic and local commerce during construction.

The Meredosia crossing is critical to regional mobility. The closest Illinois River bridge is 36 miles to the south on Interstate 72. The tied-arch style of the new bridge and its location, which is just north of the existing bridge, was decided during a series of public meetings and extensive input from local stakeholders.

The new, wider structure boasts two 12-foot lanes and two 10-foot shoulders, which will allow farm equipment and oversize loads to cross the bridge without stopping traffic heading in the opposite direction.

Construction of a pump station and underground stormwater retention chamber will help manage flooding and stormwater runoff. In a final touch, improved streetscapes and park areas will enhance Meredosia’s business district.

"Local residents and business owners, along with commercial and agricultural drivers, will start seeing benefits of this new bridge immediately," Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. "The Meredosia bridge was a team effort that will positively impact the region for generations to come."
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