Bridge closed over safety concerns

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is closing the McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis over concerns about its safety.

The bridge between Venice, Ill., and St. Louis was to close at 8 p.m. Tuesday and remain closed until a $25 million rehabilitation project can be completed, according to stltoday.com, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Internet site. Work on the bridge isn't expected to start until the spring of 2003.

The closing of the 90-year-old bridge was ordered after an analysis of a detailed inspection carried out over the summer and a spot inspection on Monday. They showed that neither the present posted load limit of eight tons nor a reduced posting are enough to guarantee motorists' safety.

"We are concerned that a line of passenger cars driving closely together could cause a failure on the bridge," said James L. Easterly, IDOT district engineer. "Many critical parts of the bridge have deteriorated to the point where the structure is not capable of safely carrying automobile traffic."

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