Work on the Murray Baker bridge is proceeding on schedule. The Interstate 74 steel span over the Illinois River closed in late March for structural repairs.
Nick Volk is a field engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation. He said Wednesday that the old concrete deck is off and new concrete work is underway.
“To give you an idea, it’s a total of 21 sections or 21 pours we have to make to put the whole deck back together and we have completed the first four,” said Volk.
He said the construction on the steel bridge hasn’t revealed big surprises – although crews found slightly more deterioration that initially anticipated.
“There’s more rivets that had gone bad than we expected,” said Volk. “There’s tens or hundreds of thousands of rivets and, you know, we’ve probably found about a thousand or 1,500 more than what was anticipated. So, not bad percentage wise.”
Volk said kinks in the detour route were expected. Reduced traffic volume due to the shelter-in-place order made detour updates easier.
“There’s been minor tweaks that we’ve had to make [that] weren’t anticipated in the [N. William] Kumpf area and then over in East Peoria at Washington Street and River Road, where we’ve done a little additional signing to clear it up,” he said.
“On Kumpf Boulevard, within the last two or three weeks, we’ve added some striping to help clarify exactly where the detour route was because there was a little lane change where it went from three lanes to two,” said Volk.
Volk said roughly 100 people are working daily on the $42 million project that’s expected to be completed Oct. 31. He said many workers would normally wear personal protective equipment due to the nature of their jobs.
“There’s a number of them that are wearing masks and they’re trying to stay as far apart as they can. Crews have spread out," said Volk. “I believe I’ve counted six or eight hand washing stations around.”
Volk said high water on the Illinois River has slightly delayed the preparation work necessary to build the new east-bound span of the McCluggage bridge. That structure will carry Route 150 over the Illinois River. It’s due to be completed in late 2022. For information on road closures and detours, go to GettingAroundPeoria.com.
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