Roads and Bridges
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the state has more than 140,000 miles of roads – the third-highest number in the country—and more than 70 percent are rural. This vast roadways network is crucial to moving Illinois commodities; however, the roads and bridges that interconnect to marketplace facilities and operations centers are slowly crumbling and causing concern.
According to the Federal Highway Administration and the American Society of Engineers,
- More than 2,200 bridges were structurally deficient in 2013
- Almost 2,000 bridges are functionally obsolete
- 73% of Illinois's roads were rated in poor or mediocre condition in 2014
As crop yields grow and trade patterns change, it is even more important to maintain and improve the system to avoid additional strains on the already stressed and aging system, and to keep Illinois competitive in the marketplace.
Following a regular bridge inspection on Nov. 17, 2014, in the midst of peak harvest deliveries of local and regional crops, IDOT issued an order for load posting on the Beardstown Bridge. The Beardstown economy relies heavily on agriculture, with major
facilities and grain terminals located near the bridge. Due to the posting, trucks took alternate routes via the nearest bridges up and down the river, ranging from 18 to 36 miles each way, to reach Beardstown. This meant traveling an additional 72 to 144 miles out of route. Read the full article on page 12 in the March issue of Illinois Field & Bean.
The North Road Bridge in Iroquois County is one of 12 in Illinois that requires serious attention. Because of its weight limit, trucks from the nearby elevator must carry half loads instead of full loads; but improvements to increase its weight limit would pay for themselves in two years.
Watch this YouTube video on the Keslinger Road Bridge in DeKalb, Illinois, an excellent example of the impact of a single weight-limited or closed bridge: an increase in costs to local commerce related to time, mileage, wear-and-tear and fuel. The issue has been championed by the Illinois Soybean Association on behalf of farmers in the region.
The interactive map below shows 12 of the most critical bridges in the state of Illinois. These bridges were analyzed through a checkoff-funded study to see how they impact the local farmers and economy.