Illinois data from the 2015 National Bridge Inventory finds that more than 2,200 bridges are structurally deficient and nearly another 2,000 are functionally obsolete. It’s no easy task, but ISA is working to improve rural bridge infrastructure across the state. And with the upcoming reconstruction of the Trivoli Road Bridge in Peoria County as an example, ISA is improving farmer productivity in the process.

The Trivoli Road Bridge was the subject of a county infrastructure prioritization study in 2014. Thanks in part to the bridge’s high benefit-cost ratio identified through the study, the bridge is slated to be rebuilt in 2017. Widening lanes and shoulders will not only make safer travel possible for the hundreds who pass over it daily, but will make it possible for one family in particular to gain back weeks of their time.

A year and a half ago when the Trivoli Road Bridge was posted to single lane, it directly affected the Rosenbohm family who farms on both sides of it. No longer able to take their combine and other heavy equipment across the bridge, Gary Rosenbohm and his son Brett resorted to taking a 60-minute detour over a township road they individually close off to traffic for safety.

“We stay away from Trivoli Road Bridge as much as possible. Unfortunately, when we need to get equipment into the fields, our only option is a hilly, narrow township road that is almost as much of a safety issue,” says Brett Rosenbohm.

Once or twice a day during planting, harvesting and any time in between, bypassing the bridge means that Gary, Brett and Brett’s stepson Justin have to add another hour of time to their current 16-hour workdays.

“Once the bridge is replaced, we’ll get that lost productivity back,” explains Brett.

This is just an example of a structurally deficient bridge and the way it affects one local farm family. Checkoff-funded research demonstrates there are bridges like this in each county across the state posing restrictions to rural transportation and communities.

Is there a posted bridge or closed road in your community costing you time and money? Tell us by submitting a comment and learn more about how ISA is investing checkoff funds in rural infrastructure.

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