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DeKalb County Board OKs funding for bridge repair

SYCAMORE – Funding to cover the cost of replacing the decks of a bridge in Sycamore and Kingston was approved by the DeKalb County Board.

The board approved $87,727 for the Township Bridge Funds for the Baseline Road bridge project. The bridge is shared between Sycamore and Kingston road districts and is about two miles west of Route 23. The county, which is covering a shortfall for the bridge funds’ project, will be reimbursed from the state through the annual allocation process. 

The entire structure of the bridge is not being replaced, said County Engineer Nathan Schwartz. Instead, it will be the bridge deck that will be replaced. The substructure or structures that are holding the bridge up are in good condition, he said.

“We don’t expect to replace them in the near future,” Schwartz said. 

Schwartz said funding from the project would come from different sources. Federal bridge dollars will pay for 80 percent of the project while the rest of the funding will be split with Sycamore and Kingston townships bridge programs, and the county. 

He said an estimate of the costs is planned ahead of time but there may be adjustments depending on how much materials are used. 

New bridges are inspected every four years, but once they reach a certain level they are inspected every two years under a federal mandate, Schwartz said. 

“The vast majority of bridges are monitored every two years,” Schwartz said. 

Once a bridge reaches a certain condition, it is put on a long-range planning schedule for fixes. If they need to be replaced sooner, they are put on a short-term planning list that lasts five to six years, he said. With the Baseline Road bridge, Schwartz said it was on a short-range planning list for about five years. 

Work on the bridge is planned to begin July 8 with an anticipated completion of the first week of September. Schwartz said the bridge will be closed as the deck is replaced. He urged the public to be patient while work is completed.

“In a 50- or 60-year lifespan of a bridge, a couple of months is a short time,” Schwartz said. 

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