Around 200 of the state’s bridges are in need of repairs, but transportation officials say that doesn’t mean they’re unsafe. 189 bridges in Illinois are classified as both “fracture critical” and “structurally deficient,” according to federal data. The first label applies to older bridges that were designed without redundant protections, meaning they could collapse if one vital component fails.
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The designation of “structurally deficient” is given to bridges that need repairs or replacement because at least one major component is in poor condition. “Although a bridge may be deemed or categorized as structurally deficient, it doesn’t necessarily mean that bridge is unsafe to travel on,” Jae Miller of the Illinois Department of Transportation said. Miller says IDOT closes any bridges found to be unsafe, and has completed numerous replacement and repair projects recently, such as the new bridge on Illinois Route 16 near Charleston. More are in the works, such as a $17.3 million project to repair 12 bridges on I-55 in Logan County.