Bridge replacements, repairs coming to Union County - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bridge replacements, repairs coming to Union County

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UNION COUNTY, Ill. -- For the past several years, Kristie McAlister has been bringing up bridge safety to leaders at Union County Board meetings. She lives in Jonesboro and has three grandchildren who cross over wooden bridges on their way to school everyday.     

"My concern is for the safety of the children riding a school bus, as well as, the safety of our farmers," she says. "The size of the bridge compared to the size of a combine, for instance, is very scary." 

Union County Treasurer and Collector Darren Bailey says local leaders have heard the concerns of McAlister and other residents like her, who have complained about loose or missing boards. 

 "A lot our bridges are pretty archaic," Bailey explains. "So listening to them (residents) and knowing this is something that they want us to address seemed like something appropriate to put into the budget."

In response, the county has reinvested $62,000 into the highway department for fiscal year 2018. The funds will go toward replacing and repairing at least five bridges, but the money could be stretched to improve three more bridges. 

Bailey says the county's highway engineer has kept a list of the bridges in most need of repair and will start there, "I think most of them will be full replacements, so they'll take out the old wood bridges and be replaced with something newer." 

While McAlister is more than ready for work to begin, she has a few improvement suggestions, "Certainly some bridges with some width would be very helpful and maybe even some guard rails on the side." 

Leaders would like to expand the project in coming years. They hope updated infrastructure, like roads and bridges, will attract businesses to the area. 

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