Is One of Illinois’ Most Beautiful Bridges Quickly Becoming a Safety Hazard?
I've never really fancied myself as a bridge lover, but when I saw this Rockford Register Star article come across my news feed this morning with a picture of the Jefferson Street Bridge, I felt a slight bit of sadness...
'Gorgeous' Rockford bridge nearing end of useful life
WHAT? Is this article going to tell me that they will be tearing down/ redoing the beautiful Jefferson Street Bridge soon?!? Not exactly, but if I'm reading it correctly, that fateful day could be coming sooner rather than later.
The Future of Rockford's Jefferson Street Bridge
According to the Rockford Register Star; "City engineers estimate the 97-year-old Jefferson Street bridge has less than 20 years of useful life remaining". So, what does this mean exactly? Are we risking our lives every time we drive on it or use the walking bridge under it? The short answer is no.
City of Rockford Public Works Director Kyle Saunders says that the Jefferson Street Bridge does not pose any immediate dangers or safety concerns, but it could start in the very near future, so the City plans to get ahead of the problem.
Saunders also told the RRStar;
in coming months and years, the city plans to consult with the park district, residents and others to determine how to design a replacement bridge and multi-use path.
Now it's time to think. Can we imagine Downtown Rockford without the iconic arch bridge? Do we want to see a fancier design when the time comes to replace the Jefferson Street Bridge? Do we still want the new design to include a walking bridge underneath it? The time to answer all those questions, and many more, is coming, so you better start thinking of your answers now.