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Keslinger Road bridge replacement planned at last

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:03 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:05 a.m. CDT
(Daily Chronicle File Photo)
Dan McNichol walks along the Kishwaukee River in November at the site of the August 2008 bridge collapse on Keslinger Road in Afton Township.

SYCAMORE – Work to repair the Keslinger Road bridge should begin this fall and be complete by the end of the year, DeKalb County Engineer Nathan Schwartz said.

A settlement the county reached last year with Enbridge Energy in the collapse of the Keslinger bridge will not cover the entire cost to repair the structure, but officials said no local money will be used.

County Board members voted Wednesday to enter an agreement with the state of Illinois for the replacement of the bridge, which collapsed after trucks too heavy for the bridge overwhelmed the eight timber piles holding the structure up.

The county will pay for the bridge replacement using a $900,000 legal settlement with Enbridge, which had overweight trucks crossing the bridge as it worked to build an oil pipeline.

The estimated cost of the replacement project is $1 million. Schwartz said federal funds will also be used to cover whatever the settlement proceeds do not, so no local tax dollars will be used.

“We’re not sure the Enbridge contribution will pay for 100 percent of the replacement of the bridge,” Schwartz said.

Normally with federal agreements, the Illinois Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent of the cost first using federal money, but on the Keslinger Road Bridge project, the $900,000 will be used first, followed by federal money, Schwartz said.

The bridge spans the Kishwaukee River on Keslinger, which is between First Street and Anderland Road south of DeKalb. It was used by about 100 vehicles a day before construction traffic increased in June 2008. On Aug. 19, 2008, the bridge’s eight timber piles buckled, and the concrete deck split in two and plunged into the river.

The bridge was among a dozen statewide that the Illinois Soybean Association identified as hindering soybean farmers and the state’s economy because their deteriorating condition required detours. Farmers hauling crops or driving large equipment have had to detour up to 16 miles since the bridge collapsed, according to research by the Illinois Soybean Association.

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