ST. JOSEPH, Ill. (WCIA) – The Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed they plan to remove an overpass near St. Joseph despite a petition to save it. The I-74 bridge is located on Champaign County Road 2000 East.

A petition was posted in the Village Hall describing it as an important transportation link for the people who live there. It went on to say: “Having relied upon this important link, changing travel and farming patterns will impact a community and their business and lifestyles in a negative way which takes something critical from the community in ways ways only perhaps evident to a rural community that borders I-74 for whom transportation links are critical parts of the infrastructure. We ask that the overpass remain, be updated or modified as needed, and not be removed.”

Retired Road Commissioner Rod Maddock organized the petition, which he said already has at least 50 signatures.

“You’ll have to travel three miles to cross the over over the interstate. And a lot of farmers moving equipment certainly don’t want to take large equipment through St. Joe,” Maddock said Sunday. “And you know, there’s school buses and [the] fire department.”

An IDOT official provided the following statement:

“Due to safety issues we are removing the superstructure (beams and deck) with work starting and being completed this spring. The Illinois Department of Transportation hired a consultant to study the need for replacing the structure based on cost analysis procedures. The study compared the additional road user costs for closing the bridge to the amortized annual cost of constructing a replacement bridge and the study recommended not replacing this structure. Travelers in the location of this bridge have multiple alternate routes available with overpass structures one mile west and two miles east of the current bridge.”

Public Information Officer Paul Wappel
Photo courtesy of Brian Buss