CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — From major spans over the Mississippi River to overpasses on traffic-choked arteries skirting Chicago, some 200 bridges throughout Illinois are in need of replacement or repair because of their outdated, insufficient design and their advanced deterioration.
That particular combination of red flags has emerged as a vexing problem around the country, as bridges are pushed beyond their expected lifespans and assaulted by ever-increasing traffic loads.
In Illinois, with too little money to throw at the problem, state transportation officials have gone into triage mode, prioritizing the busiest bridges in the worst shape for overhaul, implementing weight limits or closure orders on others, and closely monitoring the rest.
“For a bridge to fall into both of those categories it is — how should I put it? — it should be a wakeup call,” said Keith Brandau, a Champaign-based structural engineer for the firm Fehr Graham, who has helped inspect bridges for local governments in Illinois.