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October 31, 2000

Ryan Reopens McClugage Bridge After Multi-Million Dollar Rehab

PEORIA -- Governor George H. Ryan today joined local officials to reopen the eastbound McClugage Bridge following a $26 million rehabilitation that will extend the life of the bridge deck for another 25 years.

"The McClugage Bridge work is typical of Illinois FIRST improvements that are being accomplished all over Illinois. Reopening this major bridge in Peoria will help ease the commute time for the 42,500 vehicles that cross the bridge each day," Ryan said. "Equally important is the efficient movement of goods and people in the Peoria area to keep its economic vitality and growth strong.

"While we celebrate the completion of this work, we must also take time to remember the three men who lost their lives while working on the bridge. Robert Foulks, John Irby, and Ronald Watson and their families are still in our thoughts. Next spring we plan to establish a memorial near the bridge commemorating their lives and their work as iron workers," Ryan said.

The bridge has been closed to traffic since March 13 while the entire bridge deck was removed and replaced, along with some of the structural steel members.

During construction, an innovative approach to keeping traffic moving was implemented using movable barrier system called the "zipper" to facilitate traffic during the rush hours in the morning and the evening. The barrier is moved with a special piece of equipment to increase the number of lanes available during rush hours.

Video monitoring was provided to the public via the Internet and changeable message boards also were provided on every route leading onto to the bridge to aid motorists.

The eastbound structure was opened to traffic in July 1949, and originally carried both directions of traffic. Construction of the bridge started in September 1940, but work was halted from 1942 to 1946 due to the need for steel during World War II. The bridge that currently carries westbound traffic was opened in 1983.

During the rehabilitation of the 4,750-foot long bridge, 5,000 cubic yards of concrete were used along with 600 tons of reinforcing steel, 1100 tons of structural steel, and 17,500 gallons of paint. There were between 150 and 200 construction workers on the bridge each day.


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