$75 Million Bridge Over Illinois River Half Completed
The biggest construction project in Central Illinois is now halfway complete.
The $75 million dollar bridge to span the Illinois River in Meredosia is being built a few hundred feet from the current one, which was built in 1936 for less than $600,000.
Angie Crow owns the restaurant "The Approach" in Meredosia and says bridge traffic over the Illinois River is the biggest driver of local business.
"The bridge is on our logo, on our t-shirts," Crow said. "They've had it here since the 30's."
Crow said it could have crushed the local economy if the new bridge would have been built somewhere else, and the village is already struggling.
"They have closed the power plant, and they have closed national starch, and our main street, the grocery store is gone," Crow said.
Crow gets 30% of her business from people passing through to cross the bridge. Mayor James Rausch says he's glad they can keep that business after the state considered moving the bridge to the country.
He expects traffic to increase when the project is finished as drivers of large trucks will be able to fit their vehicles on the bigger bridge.
IDOT says they expect this project to be completed in the summer of 2018. They will then demolish the old bridge that has been standing for more than 80 years. They say it will help the Illinois economy by allowing better truck and barge traffic surrounding the Illinois River.