Vehicles weighing more than 8 tons will be banned from using the bridge, beginning this week, the Illinois Department of Transportation said Monday. Though the bridge remains safe for most vehicles, officials for the department said they wanted to preserve the bridge by eliminating heavy trucks.
"The steel framework is showing signs of deterioration," Tom Siekmann, a DOT district engineer, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Heavier loads could cause more fracturing. This way we can extend the life of the structure."
City officials said the change would cut into revenue needed to pay the debt on the toll bridge and could cause congestion on other bridges over the Mississippi River. Trucking companies that use the bridge said rerouting would cost time and money. As many as 1,000 trucks, mostly local deliveries, cross the McKinley each weekday.
The state transportation department plans to spend more than $20 million for repairs on the bridge, the state will not begin work until the city pays the $5 million it owes on the bridge or turns the bridge over to the department, according to the paper.