Major Joliet bridge project planned for ’14
By bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org September 7, 2013 7:10PM
Updated: October 9, 2013 7:56PM
The state plans a major downtown bridge project next summer that could last a year and would mean fewer bridge tenders, Joliet’s public works director said.
The tenders, who raise and lower the bridges for barges, would be taken off the bridges and moved to a central location, leading to a reduction in jobs. The bridges would be equipped with fiber optics and cameras, allowing tenders to operate the bridges remotely, Public Works Director James Trizna said Friday.
He said the state will make the installations one bridge at a time, but it’s expected to take two months per bridge. With six draw bridges from Ruby Street to Brandon Road, Trizna said the project would likely take at least a year.
“It’s going to be a little sticky, but we’ll survive,” he said.
He said the plan is to seek bids for the project next summer. City officials have had a preliminary meeting with state officials on the project, Trizna said, and it’s not clear yet when the work will start.
The Illinois Department of Transportation operates and maintains the six bridges. IDOT keeps the city informed on maintenance plans because of the disruption of traffic when bridges are taken out of use.
The project also will likely result in half of the bridge tender jobs being cut, Trizna said.
IDOT now has a tender around the clock at each of the six bridges. Under the new plan, Trizna said three tenders, instead of six, will operate the bridges during each shift from a state building on Bridge Street.
He said the tenders also would be able to operate a bridge at an existing tender building if needed.
“If there’s some sort of issue, one of the guys will go to the actual bridge,” Trizna said. “They’re not going to demolish the bridge tender offices.”