Bridge repair to benefit Soybean Association

By Alissa Jacob

The Illinois Soybean Association and DeKalb County Board members said they are relieved Illinois made an agreement with DeKalb County to fix a local bridge.

The bridge is over the south branch of the Kishwaukee River, crossing Keslinger Road in Afton Township. DeKalb County engineer Nathan Schwartz said bids from construction companies will begin in June and work for the bridge will begin in fall. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

The cost of the repair/replacement is estimated at $1 million, according to the meeting minutes on the DeKalb County website.

Scott Sigman, transportation and export infrastructure lead at the Illinois Soybean Association, said there are 15 access facilities within 15 miles of the bridge and 640 acres of farms they deliver to that were impacted by the collapse of the bridge. Sigman said the association’s trucks had to go 16.7 miles out of the way to deliver, which meant additional truck miles, higher fuel costs and more time wasted.

“The county engineer, Nathan Schwartz, was very collaborative and helpful in understanding the problems the county was going through. He listened to our interests to try and accelerate the process of the repair,” Sigman said. “We are pleased to see that it will be repaired by the end of the year.”

Stephen Reid, DeKalb County Board member, said since the state gave DeKalb County money, no local dollars have been used on the project.

“It is great that we got the money,” Reid said. “We feel really good about the county not having to come up with the money. We are very happy to move forward … .”

Schwartz said the support that held the bridge, called piles, gave way due to excessive loading, causing the bridge to collapse.

“We are pleased that we are moving forward with fixing the bridge,” Schwartz said.