The Washington Street Bridge Is Two Months Behind Schedule

Sept. 20, 2023
Originally built in 1920, and last renovated in 2004, the span sees thousands of motorists a day, and the need to replace it has been mounting for years

A bridge replacement on the Washington Street Bridge in Naperville, Illinois is two months behind schedule according to city officials.

Construction began on the structure this past spring, with the expectations that it would be completed by the end of summer 2024. However, work is taking longer than expected, said Bill Novack, Naperville’s director of transportation, engineering and development.

According to Novack, the construction won't be completed until next fall.

“It’s been more difficult for (crews) than they anticipated,” Novack said. “It’s not an easy job. I can’t point to one area where they lost all their time. They’ve just been consistently losing time. ... Overall, (crews) are just not hitting the production rate that they normally would.”

The plan was to get the east half of Washington Street bridge torn down and rebuilt this year, followed by the west side next year. Glendale Heights-based Dunnet Bay Construction is performing the work under a contract awarded by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The two-part approach is still the strategy planned, but finishing the east section of project this calendar year amid delays might be hard, Novack said.

“If we have enough warm weather days, we could … but I don’t see that happening in 2023,” he said. “I would love to, but we would need to have exceptional weather.”

He also said the company doing the work is not taking measures, such as working overtime, to speed up the time table. Because it’s a project overseen by the state, the city has no ability to control the work, he said.

“They have not worked Saturdays. They do not appear to have a sense of urgency to get the project done, which I would say is disappointing,” Novack said.

Originally built in 1920, and last renovated in 2004, the span sees thousands of motorists a day, and the need to replace it has been mounting for years.

After consulting with bridge engineers from the state last fall, it was determined the deterioration had taken a toll and IDOT told the city to restrict the weight limit to 8 tons and close two lanes.

The city secured federal funding to cover 80% of project costs which is being overseen by IDOT. Naperville will pay for the rest, which as of September 2022 included $3 million in construction costs and $210,600 in engineering costs.



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