Joliet city officials announced recently that “structural deficiencies” have been found on the Briggs Street bridge over I-80 and a new weight limit will be imposed in response.
While overweight trucks will not be allowed to make use of the bridge due to the new restrictions, the city of Joliet stated in a news release that this “does not imply that the existing structure is unsafe.”
The discrepancies in the bridge were found by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), who will be imposing the restrictions on the bridge.
Signs will be posted in the coming weeks to alert motorists that the weight limits have increased to 12 tons per axle and 41 tons gross weight.
"A recent bridge inspection revealed that the steel beams below the deck at the ends of the bridge had rusted and lost some strength," IDOT spokeswoman Gianna Urgo wrote in an email. "We temporarily braced the beams, and we will restrict heavy trucks from traveling over the structure."
Urgo also noted in the email that standard semitrailers weigh 12 tons per axle and 41 tons gross weight.
"So we aren't stopping normal trucks – just the ones that are heavy enough to require special overweight permits," she said. "We will continue to monitor the bridge more frequently and determine next steps."
IDOT will not be posting a detour route for overweight trucks as the bridge is not part of a designated truck route. Weight limit signs will be posted at both ends of the bridge as well as at nearby intersections.
IDOT's 2018-2023 Proposed Highway Improvement Program has plans to replace the Briggs Street bridge over I-80, the release states.