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mapsmallSPRINGFIELD – A recent Illinois Department of Transportation inspection discovered safety issues with the 60-year old U.S. 67 bridge over the Illinois River at Beardstown.

IDOT has restricted the bridge to a 15-ton weight limit and is detouring vehicles heavier than 15 tons north to Havana or south to Meredosia.

"This has created a very difficult situation for commuters that will have a negative economic impact—especially on many businesses and area farmers. Realizing this hardship, IDOT has taken aggressive action to fix the problem as soon as possible," State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.

"I commend the partnership between the Illinois Department of Transportation and the City of Beardstown for recognizing the urgency of this situation and their willingness to expedite this project for the safety of all motorist," Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said.

"Our primary concern is the safety of the drivers who use this U.S. 67. We have a plan in place to address the immediate safety issues this winter, and our hope is to secure funding and begin long-term repairs in 2015," said Deputy Director, Region 4 Engineer Roger Driskell.

IDOT is proceeding with temporary repairs, which are tentatively scheduled to begin Dec 1. These repairs should be done within a month, weather permitting. IDOT will also be pursing an emergency contract for long term repairs, which should be completed this summer.

Once the emergency repairs are finished, the weight restriction will be lifted. Properly permitted vehicles with overweight loads will still need to use the detour routes.

Sullivan, Hammond and the department are requesting approval for emergency funding to speed up the process to complete permanent repairs. Drivers should expect the bridge to be under construction most of next year.

Until the long term repairs are completed, the department will continue to monitor the bridge and may have to re-instate the 15-ton load limit.

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