Illinois transportation officials insist that a bridge that crosses over a major interstate is in “critical” condition but is still safe enough to drive on even though it is propped up by wooden cribbing.
The Briggs Street bridge that passes over I-80 in Joliet, Illinois, is often referred to by locals as the “Jenga” bridge because of the four layers of wooden blocks that are being used to keep the structure’s steel beams from collapsing under the weight of traffic, CBS Chicago reports.
Residents call it the “Jenga bridge” because of wooden blocks used to shore up the steel beams. IDOT says this Joliet bridge is safe but residents want it replaced BEFORE a truck stop goes in alongside it. Digging into surprising inspection reports at 5 @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/SGXKmMeRW9
— Megan Hickey (@MeganHickeyCBS2) February 20, 2019
The last time that the 54 year old bridge was inspected in November of 2018, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that the structure was “intolerable” and that the structure was in “critical condition – may require closure.” However, IDOT says that wooden blocks are just a short term solution and that the bridge is safe to travel on for now.
But locals say that they want a solution before the new Love’s Travel Center location off of I-80 right next to the bridge opens its doors in the coming months. The new truck stop is expected to send an extra 2400 cars and 600 trucks across the bridge per day when it opens this later year.
IDOT placed a 41 ton weight limit on the bridge in 2017 due to concerns about the structure.
IDOT does have a plan to replace the bridge, but it is part of a five year project that may not be competed until 2024.