By Shane Nicholson
The Jefferson Street bridge is set to close beginning next week as repairs start on one of downtown’s main arteries.
Originally opened in 1925, the bridge last underwent a full-scale renovation in 1994. The current structure has largely been in place since work done in the 1960s.
“You’ve got a bridge here that–it’s not outlasted its lifespan, but it needs work,” City Engineer Matt Vitner told The Rock River Times back in April. “We could go through and fix the road deck and it’d be set for a few years, or we could go through and repair the bridge from the bottom up, and that will serve the town better in the long term.”
Rockford has been able to move on with infrastructure improvements despite state funds being shut off due to the budget showdown in Springfield. The city rolled over $18 million over from FY2014 for its Capital Improvement Program.
Starting next Wednesday, the pedestrian bridge which spans below the road deck will be closed to foot and bike traffic. A week later, on Aug. 26, the top road deck will be closed to vehicle traffic. Detour routes will be posted.
More than 6,000 vehicles move daily across the one-way bridge, carrying traffic from the east side of the Rock River to Wyman and Main Streets and further west.
Repairs are expected to last through mid-November of this year.