It’s not that the city doesn’t want to fix the bridge on Thrill Hill Road, Mayor Rick Gottman said on Monday night.
It’s just that it doesn’t have the money to do so.
Saying that he has been approached by a number of local residents who want to see the bridge replaced, Gottman explained the situation at the city council meeting.
The bridge on Thrill Hill Road between U.S. Route 51 and Zent Drive has been closed to traffic since the beginning of May 2014, when the city was notified of structural issues.
The mayor said that the Illinois Department of Transportation “controls all bridges in the state.” Therefore, he said, the city can’t just do what it wants to get the road open again.
“We just can’t go in there and put a whistle (culvert) through there, fill it in and walk away,” Gottman said.
“At this point, we had to look at all of our options and what we can best use our monies for within the city.
“The bridge was not a top priority because we don’t have the money to do it. If we had the money, I’d love to get that bridge fixed, but we just don’t have over $500,000 (to do it),” he said, adding that the bridge replacement could cost as much as $600,000.
Gottman said that he is “working with state legislators to see what is out there for us, if there are any kinds of funds” for such a project.
The city is already committed to replacing the two bridges at the intersection of Fifth and Sixth streets, he said, “and we’re going to be looking at the Sixth Street bridge (near Madison Street) in the next year, to be replacing it.
“We could not tag on another $500,000, $600,000” for the Thrill Hill Road bridge, Gottman said.
“We have to do it the way that IDOT tells us to do it.
“I have to look at the tax dollars coming in, and we don’t have the money right now,” he said, noting that the issue is further complicated by the fact that the city is not receiving the tax dollars owed by the state.