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A semi crosses the Gudmund “Sonny” Jessen Bridge that carries Interstate 80 over the Illinois River north of Hennepin. Illinois Department of Transportation is planning a relatively small-scale painting project for the structure.
HENNEPIN — The Interstate 180 freeway to Hennepin, built in the late 1960s when J&L Steel built its mill northeast of town, has been receiving more upgrades and maintenance work in recent years.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is planning project this year to keep it safe and sound.
This spring, IDOT will open bids for a project to repaint a portion of the structure that carries I-180 over the Illinois River. The project is scheduled to last 35 working days and, in addition to preparing and painting the structural steel, the contractor will need to be certified for and capable of containment and disposal of lead paint cleaning residues, according to IDOT.
Unlike some multi-million projects in recent years such as refurbishment of the Route 23 bridge in Ottawa and repainting of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge, this project is “basically to tackle the bad spots” until funding becomes available to repaint all the steel under the I-180 bridge north of Hennepin, said Joe Kannel, studies and plans project engineer for IDOT’s Ottawa-based District 3 office.
“It’s a maintenance-type project,” Kannel said, noting there’s a small pot of money available for jobs like this one. The engineers’ estimated cost on the project is only about $210,000.
The re-painting work will be done on short portions of steel beams that are above two piers and below expansion joints “where most of the salt and water comes through to the steel,” Kannel said.
Plans for the bridge were completed in 1967.
IDOT says the project would last 35 working days this spring or summer, and single-lane closures are likely during the work.
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