Bridge over Illinois River providing access to state parks finishes up

New bridge features path for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between state parks and downtown Utica

October 06, 2020 / 1 minute read
Bridge over Illinois River providing access to state parks finishes up
Image: Illinois DOT via Twitter

The Illinois DOT announced today the completion of the new Illinois 178 bridge over the Illinois River, a feat that is expected to improve local commerce, regional mobility, and providing a new gateway to top tourism draws at Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks.

Traffic on the existing bridge will be switched to the new structure the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

"The new Illinois 178 bridge will benefit the region for years to come and serve as another reminder how transportation improves quality of life in our communities," Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement. "We're especially proud of the teamwork with local stakeholders to transform the bridge from what had been viewed as detriment into an asset."

Miscellaneous improvements and minor traffic impacts will continue through the fall, with the demolition of the old Illinois 178 bridge to be scheduled later this year.

Construction started in 2017 on the new $27.4 million bridge, replacing a steel truss structure built in 1962 that lacked shoulders. In addition to a modern design that includes shoulders to accommodate vehicle breakdowns, emergency personnel, and first responders, the new bridge features a path that allows pedestrians and bicyclists to safely travel between the state parks and historic downtown Utica.

Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks draw almost 3 million visitors each year, making them among the top tourist destinations in the state, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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SOURCE: Illinois DOT

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