Rural Issue

Bridge bundling could accelerate rural bridge improvements

The Illinois Soybean Association says bridge bundling could help speed up repairs of worn-down rural bridges.

Carmi, Illinois farmer Tim Scates tells Brownfield as bridges deteriorate, load limits are lowered, costing farmers time and fuel.

“Some bridges are just completely out and then some of them they have lowered the load limit on them to where we can’t drive over them with our trucks or semis that are loaded with grain coming from the field.”

Scates is an at-large director for ISA and says they have created a bridge bundling toolkit for county and township officials to save time and taxpayer dollars on bridge repairs.

“A lot of the bridges that are similar in size, weight, and length, they have an engineering firm design them with the hopes that they can bundle them up with similar bridges and that way they don’t have to design one for every location.”

He says well maintained roads and bridges don’t just benefit farmers.

“When we have to go around a bridge it costs us a little more in fuel and time, so it’s going to make the cost of doing business go up and that’s when it affects the general public. A lot of these secondary bridges are used by the general public also.”

Illinois has around 26,000 bridges across the state and according to the Federal Highway Administration 53% of those are in fair to poor condition.

Audio: Interview with Tim Scates

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