Centennial Bridge set to reopen

Centennial Bridge, under construction since June, will reopen Oct. 10. The bridge has been closed since Aug. 3.
Repairs include replacing steel plates, fixing concrete piers beneath the bridge, replacing expansion joints and putting up new sidewalk railings and posts. The work to Centennial Bridge is a $3.3 million project.
“Work on the bridge started in June, with most of the early work under the bridge,” said John Wegmeyer, a project implementation engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). “The public didn’t notice until the road closed on August 3rd when we took out beams and started working. There’s a lot of traffic through Centennial Bridge, so construction affected traffic and business in the area, so we try to keep closures to a minimum.”
Regular users of the bridge have been using alternate routes to get to their jobs, internships or other destinations across the bridge in Iowa. Megan Boedecker, a senior at Augustana, travels to downtown Davenport for her internship at TAG Communications and has been affected by the closure of Centennial Bridge.
“The drive from Moline to Davenport from (Interstate) 74 is 10 to 15 minutes and Government Bridge is only five minutes, but if Government Bridge is closed I can sometimes get stuck,” said Boedecker. “I have waited 45 minutes at times. So going over the bridge can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.”
Wegmeyer said the repairs are a result of regular inspections of the bridge. Areas seemed rusted and worn down, requiring repair to insure safety. Construction on the bridge prevents the need for weight regulations.
“We inspect all our bridges every other to every year,” said Wegmeyer. “We monitor things and noticed that areas of Centennial Bridge were rusted or deteriorated. We needed to fix it to keep it safe and to eliminate the need for weight restrictions.”
Although it may cause inconveniences to drivers, Boedecker believes that these repairs are worth the longer drives and different routes.
“The repairs need to be done,” said Boedecker. “The inconvenience just shows how many cars use the Centennial Bridge every day. That’s a lot of people who could be endangered by faulty support on the bridge.”
Wegmeyer said this date could be pushed forward or backward depending on the rate of work or any complications that may occur. He assures that workers are doing all they can to complete the repairs in a timely fashion.
Boedecker said city officials are aware of the inconvenience of the closure.
“I think they’re doing everything they can to make sure the bridge isn’t closed longer than it absolutely needs to be,” she said. “Until it opens, we all have to just sit tight and plan around it.”