Troubled bridges, not water, cause for concern

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A county highway department has plans to replace a troublesome bridge over Lake Mattoon, but people who live near the lake say the changes planned are not the ones needed.

People won’t have issues crossing the bridge, but boaters will still have problems passing under it. The bridge is so low, people boating have to duck to go underneath. People have been hurt and boats have been damaged because of the low clearance.

The Cumberland County Highway Department has plans to replace one of the bridges, but not to raise it. Officials say it’s already going to be a $650,000 project; raising the bridge would add a couple hundred-thousand more.

Neighbors say they love the lake, but want to see the repairs done the right way. The lake spreads across Coles, Cumberland and Shelby counties. It’s why people hope the other county entities could rally behind the project for the safety of boaters.

The Cumberland County Highway Department says the plans are already made and construction is scheduled to start in the spring. When asked if they’d consider drafting a new plan if the funds were available, they said they’d “cross that bridge when they came to it” and it would have to happen pretty quick, but they would likely consider it.

Cumberland County plans to just fix the Marina Road Bridge. It’s under their jurisdiction. At least one other bridge in the area also has a very low clearance.

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