No decision on State Line Bridge

August 9, 2018

A bistate meeting Tuesday in Indiana to consider the removal of the State Line Bridge over the Kankakee River east of Momence brought no resolution, according to Jimmy Carter, president of the Kankakee River Conservancy District.

The bridge, which has spanned the river 7 miles east of Momence since 1924, has been closed as unsafe since 2000.

Wednesday’s bistate meeting at the Lake County government center in Crown Point, Ind., was called by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Carter attended in person, and Kankakee County Board chairman Andy Wheeler was involved by telephone. Representatives of Lake and Newton counties, which border the river in Indiana, also attended along with Indiana DNR officials, representatives of historic preservation organizations and others.

Rehabilitation of the historic bridge had been proposed earlier at an estimated cost of $1.7 million, but the only bid submitted last February was $7.5 million.

Kankakee and Lake county officials then agreed that dismantling the bridge and selling the scrap would be the best option.

Carter said he doesn’t favor removing the bridge because of possible increases in hazards downstream, where the conservancy district, with little public funding, depends almost entirely on volunteers to deal with river hazards.

He said Wheeler expressed concern that if the bridge isn’t removed, it will collapse on the Illinois side of the state line.

He also said the only decision made through Tuesday’s meeting was to recalculate the specifications for removing the bridge and putting the project up for bids again.

Update hourly