Grandview getting new bridge

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The Camp Bridge in Grandview Township will be replaced in 2024.

Edgar County Highway Engineer Aaron Lawson confirmed at the Monday, Nov. 4, road and bridge meeting with the Edgar County Board, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) selected replacing Camp Bridge for use of federal funds.

“That is a big deal,” said Lawson.

He said the county had already spent about $25,000 on the project to position itself for the selection process and another expense of not more than $40,000 is needed for an outside engineering firm to begin a four-year design project.

“They will make sure we have a big enough ask,” said Lawson.

The bridge, which is now in the federal transportation 2024 allotment, will be approximately a $1 million project. Lawson estimated the local cost share at $200,000.

Seeking outside funding for replacing the Camp Bridge has been an ongoing effort for a few years.

“When you walk under that bridge you can see it needs replaced,” said board member John Chittick.

The bridge is on county highway 16, just south of 400th Road, and approximately four miles southeast of the Village of Grandview. It was built in 1941 and is described as a single-span, cast in place concrete slab over steel beams.

Securing funds for Camp Bridge comes as a major bridge building project in Elbridge Township is drawing to a conclusion.

Lawson expressed satisfaction with progress on Staley Bridge over Sugar Creek. He said the steel beams are in place and the contractor believes the bridge will be open for use before the year is over.

Staley Bridge is replacing a low water concrete slab crossing of Sugar Creek that sometimes compelled drivers to traverse flowing water to cross from one side to the other. Rushing water swept a Jeep off the Staley Slab in June 2018 and fortunately no lives were lost. That was not the case in June 2015 when a Terre Haute, Ind., man drowned while attempting to rescue a child swept from the slab during a family swimming party.

The Camp Bridge is not the only part of the infrastructure on the highway department’s radar. Lawson said highway department employees are looking at approximately a half-dozen bridges and making safety changes to Sulphur Springs Road is another goal, if outside money becomes available.

According to Lawson, there is still talk the legislature plans to increase money for the needy township and consolidated county funds administered by IDOT, but that has not yet happened. There is also talk of a series of bond sales to make more money available for infrastructure improvements.

“I would like to use any new money from the state to leverage for more funds,” said Lawson.

Another project in the works is doing jurisdictional transfers with Edgar, Ross, Young America, Prairie and Brouilletts Creek townships. This plan has the townships assuming ownership of low-volume county roads.

“We have on our system roads that have 100 cars, or less,” said Lawson, noting how traffic patterns have changed since the county highway system was laid out in the early 20th century.

The advantage to the jurisdictional transfers is it can generate an additional $115,000 of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) for local road maintenance. The county’s MFT allotment is based on the number of license tags in the county, but townships are paid by the actual number of road miles.