Metro-East News

These are the bridges you might use every day that are considered structurally deficient

Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that it plans to open the ramp onto the eastbound Poplar Street Bridge from St. Louis to southern Illinois on Thursday, ending a six-month detour for commuters.
Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that it plans to open the ramp onto the eastbound Poplar Street Bridge from St. Louis to southern Illinois on Thursday, ending a six-month detour for commuters.

A new report published by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association says more than 54,000 bridges across the country are deemed structurally deficient, including 2,300 bridges in Illinois and more than 3,000 in Missouri.

Metro-east bridges that made the list include several along Interstate 255 including the bridges over St. Clair Avenue, Illinois 15 and Illinois 163.

Illinois 15 over Richland Creek is also considered structurally deficient, the builders association said.

The report was released as President Donald Trump was expected to propose a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his first State of the Union address.

“He’s going to talk about a trillion and a half dollars of investment, but more importantly, he’s going to talk about streamlining the approval process on infrastructure,” White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn told CNBC. “Right now, we have an infrastructure approval process that takes seven to 10 years to build relatively simple roads. We need to streamline that to less than two years.”

Work crews have opened more lanes along Illinois 15 near the construction of a new bridge over Illinois 13 and Illinois Central Railroad tracks. The work has been delayed for years, but officials say they hope the project will be completed by Sept

The Poplar Street Bridge, which connects St. Louis and St. Clair County and is one of the most traveled bridges in Illinois, is considered structurally deficient. However, the Missouri Department of Transportation is in the midst of a multi-year project to upgrade the bridge built in 1963.

The Martin Luther King Bridge over the Mississippi River also made the list.

Illinois identified needed repairs on 2,642 bridges, which the state estimates will cost $9.6 billion, according to the road and transportation builders association report.

“An infrastructure package aimed at modernizing the interstate system would have both short- and long-term positive effects on the U.S. economy,” said Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, who conducted the analysis of Federal Highway Administration data.

The Federal Highway Administration considers a bridge structurally deficient if the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert, and retaining walls are considered in “poor” condition and the individual parts of the bridge show signs of advanced loss deterioration or breaking.

Drivers aren't using the Stan Musial Bridge like MoDOT had hoped once the on ramp to the Poplar Street Bridge was closed, but in this BND file video some drivers talk about how the newest St. Louis-area bridge has changed their commute.

“It does not mean a bridge is unsafe or dangerous,” said Kelsea Gurski, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation. “A structurally deficient rating means there are elements of the bridge that need to be monitored, inspected and maintained on a more regular basis. Many times they are posted with reduced weight limits to restrict heavy truck traffic. If any unsafe conditions are identified, the structure is closed.”

Gurski added IDOT is developing a list of improvements on major bridges in an order of priority.

“Bridges are among our most expensive, complicated projects. Because of that, we are becoming more focused than ever on viewing bridges and other key pieces of infrastructure as resources we must do our utmost to preserve and protect — the foundation that makes Illinois the transportation hub of North America,” Gurski said. “At the same time, we are creating a separate list of needs for the bridges that cross over major rivers, including the border bridges we share with Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana. All of these efforts are part of a larger mission to commit to a system of asset management that helps guide IDOT’s decisions about where to best invest the public’s resources.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

Metro-east bridges

County

Year Built

Daily Crossings

Type of Bridge

Location

Bond

1967

10,050

Rural Interstate

I-70 WB over CSX

Bond

1966

10,000

Rural Interstate

I-70 WB over BNSF

Bond

1966

10,000

Rural Interstate

I-70 EB over Pleasant Mound Ave

Madison

1989

14,000

Urban collector

Center Grove Road over Madison County Transit Bike Trail

Madison

1955

15,750

Rural Interstate

I-55 NB over Biketrail

Madison

1955

15,750

Rural Interstate

I-55 SB over Biketrail

Madison

1962

11,350

Urban Interstate

I-70 WB over Highland Silver Lake

St. Clair

1982

25,900

Urban Interstate

I-255 NB over Harding Ditch

St. Clair

1981

51,800

Urban Interstate

I-255 over Illinois 15

St. Clair

1980

49,600

Urban Interstate

I-255 over Illinois 163

St. Clair

1980

49,600

Urban Interstate

I-255 over Norfolk Southern Railroad

St. Clair

1982

37,200

Urban Interstate

I-255 SB over Harding Ditch

St. Clair

1979

39,500

Urban Interstate

I-255 over McBride Avenue

St. Clair

1982

25,900

Urban Interstate

I-255 SB over St. Clair Ave and Metrolink

St. Clair

1973

11,400

Urban minor arterial

Illinois 111 over I-64

St. Clair

1956

13,500

Urban other principal arterial

Illinois 15 EB over Richland Creek

St. Clair

1956

13,500

Urban other principal arterial

Illinois 15 WB over Richland Creek

St. Clair

1950

29,000

Urban other principal arterial

Martin Luther King Bridge over Mississippi River

St. Clair

1963

82,900

Urban Interstate

Poplar Street Bridge

Source: American Road and Transportation Builders Association

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