IDOT to Evaluate Heartland Bridges

IDOT to Evaluate Heartland Bridges
By: Carly O'Keefe

CAIRO, Ill. - A day after a deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich ordered immediate inspections of the state's bridges.
Illinois Department of Transportation engineers visually inspected all major river bridges, paying special attention to two bridges in southern Illinois.
The U.S. 51 Bridge in Cairo and the New Harmony Bridge in White County have similar deck trusses to the I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed Wednesday during rush hour, killing at least five people and injuring many others.
The visual inspection of the bridges was only the first step.  IDOT plans extensive structural evaluations of the major river bridges, including the U.S. 51 and New Harmony bridges.  
In light of the tragedy in Minnesota, IDOT officials say all bridges deserve a second look, although they have no reason to question the structural integrity of the state's bridges currently in use.
"Everything has been analyzed by a structural engineer and we feel confident our bridges are in good shape," said IDOT Operations Field Engineer Doug Helfritch.
In the coming days and weeks, IDOT officials plan to conduct in-depth inspections of major river bridges looking at the strength of critical connections, joints, bearing plates and piers.