Murphysboro Bridge Project Delayed Again


By Brandon Merano
By Andy Shofstall

MURPHYSBORO -- An $11 million construction project started in 2012 has been delayed again. Residents could see the project really pick up as construction on the first bridge is wrapping up.

"It will rapidly change in the next month," said Resident Technician Luke Estel.

IDOT crews and contractors are stepping up work at the intersection of Route 13 and Highway 127 in Murphysboro.

"We're going to work six days a week, probably ten to twelve hours a day and get it done by springtime," Estel said.

This is the second time the Big Muddy Bridge project has been delayed by flooding from the river below. Last fall and now this spring leaving residents, like Carol McMannis angry.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I mean what's the problem? That's what you want to ask. Get us some new people to get something done around here," exclaimed McMannis.

"When people drive by and they go there is nobody working out there. There are actually a bunch of people working down below. The last 25 percent of the bridge project is where people actually get to see us working," explained Estel.

"They have steel workers, iron workers, concrete workers and all these people that arent always seen," said Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens.

The mayor says the type of equipment involved and contractors from outside the area could be a reason for the setbacks.

"They have multi-million dollar equipment they have to use on this project. It's not like they can leave a massive crane sitting on the bank while the river comes up around it," said Stephens. "They were not really prepared for the forces that the Big Muddy River can put on a project." 

The mayor says he shares peoples' frustrations. Even though the work is taking longer than expected, crews hope drivers don't get too comfortable in the construction area.

"Go slow in our traffic zones. There's a lot of people out here working and equipment moving back in forth," Estel said.

Marion Regional
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