After three years of exploration and research, the Illinois Soybean Association has released a Bridge Bundling Toolkit in an effort to help address rural infrastructure needs.
Bloomington, Ill. – August 7, 2023 – The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) recently announced the launch of a Bridge Bundling Toolkit. The toolkit is an interactive website which provides municipal, township, and county officials a step-by-step guide on how to assess and develop a bridge bundle. Illinois has over 26,000 bridges statewide, of which 44 percent are in fair condition and 9 percent are in poor condition as designated by the United States Federal Highway Administration.
In 2020, ISA brought on board WSP USA – a global engineering firm – to work with ISA on examining how bridge bundling could be more widely encouraged in Illinois. Bridge bundling is a project delivery concept used by many states and local jurisdictions throughout the nation which takes advantage of economies of scale by issuing a single contract for the replacement, rehabilitation, or repair of multiple bridges. Since then, the team has held seven statewide stakeholder webinars, numerous one-on-one stakeholder interviews, conducted a legislative review, released two stakeholder surveys, wrote a bridge bundling white paper, and developed a bridge condition dashboard. These efforts led to the development of the Bridge Bundling Toolkit.
The toolkit is geared toward technical staff at the local jurisdictional level who plan, design, and construct bridges. It provides them with the information and resources needed to help guide them on the complexities of bridge bundling. “The condition of Illinois bridges is of key importance to ISA and its members. If a bridge is posted or closed it can greatly impact how Illinois soybeans reach the marketplace,” said Todd Main, Director of Market Development. “This toolkit provides resources which will help local jurisdictions bundle bridges, leading to more bridges being repaired and replaced, which ultimately impacts opportunity and profitability for Illinois growers.”
The toolkit website can be viewed at https://www.ilsoy.org/bridge-bundling-toolkit/
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.