The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday the completion of the new Route 89 bridge over the Illinois River at a ceremony to dedicate the structure as the “Illinois Valley Veterans Memorial Bridge.”
“The Illinois Valley Veterans Memorial Bridge and related improvements provide vital community connections to boost economic opportunity and quality of life for residents,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn in a statement. “The completion of this work will benefit the region for years to come. We were proud to partner with the community on a project that creates jobs and improves commerce in an important part of the state.”
While the new bridge opened to traffic on June 18, additional work, including removal of the old bridge and realignment of the approaches to the new structure, was completed in recent weeks. The two-lane bridge connecting Putnam and Bureau counties provides safer, more efficient travel for motorists throughout the region. Miscellaneous improvements will continue through the fall.
“The new Illinois Valley Veterans Memorial Bridge means everything to our community,” said Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini in a press release. “Thanks to the work of IDOT, the entire Illinois Valley will see improved safety, traffic flow and access for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. What a great tribute to our veterans.”
Construction started in February 2016 on the new, wider structure. The new bridge features eight-foot shoulders, designed to enhance safety in the event of vehicle breakdowns as well as to improve access for emergency personnel and first responders. The bridge also allows room for pedestrians and cyclists to travel across the Illinois River, one of the state’s top tourism draws.
The $41.5 million project involved replacement of the old structure with a new one in a parallel alignment. Constructed in 1934, the old Illinois 89 bridge was in poor condition and was demolished in August 2018.