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Engineer hired for Justen Road bridge project

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 3:14 p.m. CDT

PRAIRIE GROVE – The village of Prairie Grove is moving ahead with plans to repair the bridge that carries Justen Road over Sleepy Hollow Creek.

The Prairie Grove Village Board hired its contractual engineering firm, Baxter & Woodman, to conduct the first phase of engineering for the project.

The contract is worth $124,900 and will be paid for using an 80-20 matching federal grant, Village Administrator Jeannine Smith said.

The project "is definitely in the forefront of our minds because it is a very expensive project," Smith said, adding that the village has submitted a funding request to the federal government to help cover costs.

The cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $1.5 million, though part of the phase one engineering will include a cost-benefit analysis, which will look at whether repair or replacement is the best alternative, she said.

Although the bridge isn't a large one, it is multi-span and built off a curving road, which means the engineering that goes into the project will be more intensive, Smith said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has declared the bridge structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, which means parts of it are in poor or worse condition and it no longer meets current design standards.

These classifications don’t mean the bridge, which was built in 1973, is likely to collapse or is unsafe, but it does mean it requires significant maintenance and needs repair.

The Justen Road bridge is open to regular car and truck traffic, but the village is restricting use by overweight trucks.

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