Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Milton Sees joined other elected and community leaders Nov. 17 to dedicate the McKinley Bridge, as the revitalization project nears completion.
The $52 million project, funded with state and federal dollars, restores a vital connection across the Mississippi River for local commuters for the first time in six years.
“Reopening the McKinley Bridge will significantly help ease congestion and improve the quality of life for area residents,” Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said. “But above all the reconstruction of this bridge ensures the safety of drivers who use it every day.”
The McKinley Bridge officially opened in December. It formerly operated as a toll bridge, but will now offer motorists a toll-free passageway across the Mississippi River. Approximately 9,800 vehicles traveled the McKinley Bridge every day, before it was closed to traffic in 2001.
“I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich and everyone who worked so hard to complete this project,” said Sees. “The reopening of the McKinley Bridge will mean a safe and efficient way for motorists in this area to get across the Mississippi River. We are happy to dedicate this bridge today, and look forward to seeing traffic crossing it, once again.”
The bridge was taken out of service Oct. 30, 2001, due to structural concerns. Construction work on the current project began in April 2005. During the course of the project, crews made structural repairs on the steel of the three main truss spans of the McKinley Bridge, and the trusses were painted. The painting was added to the project to extend the life of the steel, and to minimize future lane restrictions.