Rosenthal and McClure Pass Legislation to Enable Repairs and Replacements for Historic Bridges

News From

State Representative Wayne Rosenthal

Springfield, IL…What do you do when a historic bridge that is still used is in drastic need of repair or replacement? If a bridge has been deemed a historic place, there is little that can be done, with potential safety concerns. State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) and State Representative Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) have passed legislation through the General Assembly designed to fix that issue.

“Preserving historic places is important for educational and tourism purposes, but when the historic place is a bridge that is still part of an important travel route for motorists and farmers, safety needs to be the first concern,” said Senator McClure. “This legislation will provide a pathway, when necessary, to allow repairs or replacements for historic bridges to maintain safety for people who need to cross them.”

Senate Bill 3622, filed by McClure in the Senate and sponsored by Rosenthal in the House, allows the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council to recommend that a bridge be removed from the National Register of Historic Places if the bridge is less than 22 feet wide with a banister at least 18 inches tall, is on or crosses a township road, and will be renovated or rebuilt.

“While I’m an advocate for preserving the history of historic structures across Illinois, this legislation will allow townships to request the removal of 100-year-old bridges that interfere with public safety, said Rep. Rosenthal. “Historic bridges are structurally sound, but they were not designed to accommodate for two-way traffic and large equipment. Repairing or removing specific bridges to improve the safety of residents is the overall objective of this legislation.”

The idea for the legislation was brought to the legislators by a constituent, Montgomery County Board Member Kenneth Folkerts, based on issues with a bridge on the Christian and Montgomery County lines.

“It’s important to be able to do this because often times farmers have to go around many of the bridges because the bannisters are so high, modern machinery won’t fit through them,” said Folkerts.

SB3622 passed both chambers of the General Assembly and now awaits the signature of the Governor.

# # #