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herrinbridgeMadison County officials have reopened Buchta Road in Fort Russell Township following the replacement of Heeren Bridge.

The road and bridge, which are located west of South Moreland Road and crosses over Indian Creek, reopened Friday after being shut down for nearly seven months.

“We are pleased in the fact that the bridge repair opened ahead of schedule,” County Board member Tom McRae, R-Bethalto, and chair of the Transportation Committee, said.

In February, the County Board awarded a $1.08 million contract to RCS Construction Inc. of Wood River to renovate the single-span bridge that averages 1,000 vehicles per day.

The bridge had several structural deficiencies prior to its replacement. The structure, which had a load limit of 17 tons, and flooded several times per year is now a three span, steel wide flange beam structure with concrete deck.

The county funded 75 percent of the project from its Bridge Fund, and Fort Russell Township funded the remaining 25 percent.

McRae said the re-opening of the road and bridge would relieve some of the traffic congestion along Illinois routes 140 and 143. He said that with the shutdown of Buchta Road and the Illinois Department of Transportation doing bridge construction on Route 143 at Indian Creek had motorists taking alternative routes and increasing traffic along those roadways.

Matt Kitzmiller, the county’s construction engineer, said that work on the bridge began March 12 and the contractor completed the project under the 80 working-day period.

“The bridge was done within 76 working days,” Kitzmiller said.

Fort Russell Township also resurfaced Buchta Road west of Illinois Route 159 and east of South Moreland Road.

County Board member Mick Madison, R-Bethalto said he is pleased the road has been improved and reopened.

“It was a much-needed improvement and I am happy it was completed ahead of schedule,” Madison said.