By Randy Pierce
As required by state statutes, a 20-year long-range transportation improvement plan for Madison County has been finalized and will be available for public review sometime this month.
Adam Walden, the county highway department engineer, said this is the first time such a plan was developed “in house” by him and his staff after previously having been completed by outside consultants. Therefore, he noted, the county has saved about $288,000 in expenses by approaching the orchestration of the plan in this manner.
In sharing information about the plan at a meeting of the county board’s transportation committee, chaired by Bobby Ross of St. Jacob, Walden pointed out a plan like this has to be in place permanently, but it can be revised as necessary whenever a decision to do so is made at the local level.
To be published on the Madison County web site, the plan looks at such aspects of transportation as adding, extending or changing the configurations of roads, streets and bridges and is submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation as required by law.
The plan “gives us a direction, gives us a vision,” Walden told the transportation committee, “of what we’d like to see accomplished” while the more specific details about the various projects involved are better suited to the shorter five-year plan that was approved by the county board in December and is also required by state statute.
Walden additionally called the committee’s attention to the use of the term “critical” in reference to the condition of some bridges in the county as described in the 20-year plan.
“Critical,” as he explained, is the word used in national bridge inspection circles for bridges needing attention, not something developed as a description by the county staff, Walden explained.
This is solely based on a rating system that must be followed to be in compliance with the necessary requirements of the plan and, as Walden stressed, “does not imply in any way the bridge is about to fall down.”
There are over 65 bridges the county is responsible for with a handful of them falling into this category, he added.