New report finds Centennial, I-280 bridges ‘structurally deficient’; IDOT says both are safe

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A new report lists three Quad Cities bridges as structurally deficient.

According to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, three of the most traveled structurally deficient bridges in Iowa are the Centennial, I-280 over the Mississippi River, and North Division St. over Duck Creek.

On average, the Centennial Bridge has 30,400 daily crossings and was built in 1940 and the I-280 bridge has 25,100 and was built in 1970, according to the ARTBA report.

Although the report lists the structures as structurally deficient, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, which manages the Centennial, says the bridges are safe.

“There term deficiency doesn’t mean it’s not safe. If it’s not safe, we would not leave the bridge open to the public,” Mahmoud Etemadi, Bridge Maintenance Engineer for the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, said, “For us, in order to keep that bridge safe and sound for traveling public, we have to react quickly and implement any kind of repairs that need it.”

The report ranks Iowa second and Illinois 15 in the nation for percentage of structurally deficient bridges. West Virginia is first with 21.2 percent of all bridges in the state ranked deficient, according to the report.

Numerous projects have been performed on the Centennial Bridge to keep it safe since it opened, including in 2018, 2014, and 2003.

IDOT is scheduled to perform another $2 million project next year that will repair steel under the bridge and vertical hangers on the sides.

“Then after that is completed, we have programmed about $6 million to paint the bridge. Painting steel will prevent it from any further corrosion and section lost,” Etemadi said.

The bridge is ranked deficient partly because of its deck width, but it also receives routine in-depth inspection because of its age.

“We do everything we can in our ability to maintain this bridge in a safe and sound condition,” Etemadi said.

There’s no word on when the Centennial Bridge would be replaced. Illinois currently has other bridges at a higher replacement priority.

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