CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The south entrance bridge to the University of Illinois Allerton Park in rural Monticello will be closed today to all traffic because the bridge has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer safe.
The university will replace the single-lane concrete bridge, which spans the Sangamon River. The new bridge is expected to open in spring 2003.
The university recently hired an engineering company to examine the condition of the bridge. Based upon the companys inspection of bridge-deck coring samples, engineers concluded that the bridge has "reached the end of its structural and functional life."
The bridge is thought to have been built between 1910 and 1920; concrete structures exposed to weather have an expected life of 50 to 70 years, the engineers report said.
The north entrance to the park will remain open.
Signs will be posted notifying visitors of the bridge closure.
Robert Henry Allerton gave his private estate, then called "The Farms," to the UI in 1946. The property consists of 1,500 acres of formal gardens, nature areas and Allertons manor house. In keeping with his original concept, the estate is used as a conservation area devoted to education, research and recreation.
For a map and other park information, see www.conted.uiuc.edu/rapcc/index.html.