As the summer winds to a close, the legislature is now just over one month away from returning to Springfield for Veto Session. The Veto Session this year is scheduled to begin on October 28th. Since the spring Session ended on June 1, Governor Pritzker has signed 591 bills and vetoed only 8.
While the Veto Session is supposed to provide the legislature with the opportunity to override a Governor’s vetoes, on occasion the fall legislative Session has been used to pass new bills. As we move closer to the Veto Session, I will keep you updated on any new legislative measures that may be considered. As always, I truly appreciate your continued readership of this weekly newsletter, and I encourage you to keep your thoughts and ideas coming! It is my honor and privilege to serve Southern Illinois as 118th district State Representative.
Enhanced traffic restrictions planned for U.S. 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge at Paducah: Actions designed to eliminate illegal truck traffic.
Earlier this week. the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet released information on new vehicle restrictions for the U.S. highway 45 “Brookport” bridge at Paducah. In a press release sent out Thursday, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet revealed their plan to eliminate illegal truck traffic across the Brookport Bridge. You can read the entire press release highlighted in bold below.
“PADUCAH, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2019) — As maintenance and repair work continues to progress on the U.S. 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge at Paducah, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has taken action to eliminate illegal truck traffic on the structure in the future.
New signs will be installed on approaches to the bridge indicating a 15-ton load limit, reiterating the strict 8-foot load width, and a new 9.5-foot barrier is being designed for the end of the bridge to specifically exclude vehicles over that height.
The bridge has been closed since May 8 to allow a contractor to complete about $400,000 in maintenance and repair items, including three new concrete pier caps with a protective carbon fiber wrap. Work is on track to allow the bridge to reopen well before the November 1 target completion date.
KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat noted that trucks have commonly disregarded the maximum 8-foot load width restriction on the bridge and the existing 31-ton weight restriction. That has prompted a more aggressive approach to protect and preserve the bridge.
“When the bridge reopens, additional restrictions and barriers will be in place to eliminate all truck traffic,” Poat said. “Our goal is to protect the bridge for the long-term and preserve it so that it safely serves the most people for the longest time possible.”
KYTC engineers drew up the additional restrictions after conversations with law enforcement and with assistance from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“As we reviewed issues with oversized and overweight vehicles on the bridge, we concluded the existing restrictions that should have automatically excluded most commercial trucks were violated daily,” Poat said. “The new restrictions and height barricade are an enhanced effort to exclude all inappropriate traffic from the bridge.”
Poat reiterated that there is no process in place to replace the U.S. 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge, increasing the need for additional restrictions to maintain safety and serviceability of the structure for the long-haul.
While maintenance and repair work on the bridge continues, motorists traveling between Kentucky and Illinois continue to detour via the Interstate 24 Ohio River Bridge at Paducah.
“If your vehicle is more than eight feet wide, if you are pulling a trailer hauling much more than a riding lawn mower, you should probably use the I-24 Ohio River Bridge to cross between Illinois and Kentucky,” Poat said. “We need for people who regularly commute across the Brookport Bridge to buy into this and help us preserve this bridge well into the future.”
Many border bridges are jointly owned and funded by the connecting states. The U.S. 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge came into the highway system prior to those agreements, so it is wholly owned and maintained by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The 10-span structure, also known as the Irvin Cobb Bridge, carries approximately 5,000 vehicles across the Ohio River each day between Paducah, Ky., and Brookport, Ill.
Judy C. Harp Company, Inc., is the prime contractor on the $400,000 maintenance and repair project.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will provide timely notice when the ongoing maintenance and repair work is completed and traffic flow can be restored.”
Tour of River to River Residential Community in Anna
I had a great time meeting residents and staff from the River to River Residential Community in Anna! Thank you to the friendly, hard-working folks that help take care of the senior citizens at this fantastic facility!
Eldorado’s Ferrell Hospital Expansion Beam Raising Ceremony
Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado celebrated the kickoff of a planned expansion project on Friday with a great beam raising ceremony. Thank you to the hospital’s administration and staff for the warm welcome, and Congratulations!
My office in Harrisburg is open Monday through Friday 8:30-4:30. You can reach me by phone at 618-294-8703 or by emailing Windhorst@ILHousegop.org.