BLOOMINGTON — Some store owners and managers will have to contend for at least another 45 days with a detour that has rerouted traffic away from their businesses while the nearby West Market Street railroad bridge is being rebuilt.
"It's been slowing up business a little bit, but I can live with it a while longer," said Jeff Robinson, assistant manager of Boost Mobile, 912 W. Market St. "We just need a little bit of patience, but I definitely will be happy when the street opens up again."
For about two months, Market Street has been closed 100 feet in both directions of the bridge at Morris Avenue. Motorists are being detoured using Hinshaw Avenue and Locust and Lee streets.
"The bridge work will be completed this week, but the work on the roadway beneath the bridge will not be completed until mid-July," Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific Corp., said Monday.
Construction crews contracted by the railroad began March 30 demolishing and then rebuilding the bridge to support Amtrak train speeds up to 110 mph and increased freight traffic. Parts of Market Street near the bridge, and the traffic signal at Morris Avenue, also are being rebuilt.
Davis noted the bridge is being completed by the scheduled deadline of the first week in June. "As far as the road work, nothing changed weather-wise, but there were some issues with relocating some of the utilities," he said.
The project is being constructed by Union Pacific and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of the Chicago-to-St. Louis High Speed Rail Project. The city of Bloomington has no money dedicated to the project.
Davis did not know Monday the cost of the bridge project, but about $1.14 billion in federal funding has been dedicated to high-speed rail improvements between Dwight and East St. Louis, said IDOT
City engineers have been advised by Rowe Construction, which Union Pacific has contracted, that the related roadwork will start by mid-June and take about 30 days to complete, said Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch.
"So Market Street will be shut down until mid-July, and we'll be using that same detour route," Karch said.
Brothers Motor Group and Auto Detailing owner Scott Duvall was worried the detour would cut into his sales.
"It's not as bad as I thought it would be," said Duvall, who purchased the used auto dealership and detailing shop at 1112 W. Market St. in October. "I still get some traffic, but it's not like it used to be. We always have the Internet sales, so I haven't seen a big loss in sales — maybe two or three."
The city also has not received any further complaints about the loud noise that kept some residents from sleeping at night while large pylons for the bridge were being erected in mid-April.
"They stopped doing the 24-hour (work) shifts and the noise was a lot better," said Allan Peterson, who co-owns Morris Avenue Garage, 407 N. Morris Ave., with Rex Beard.
"We've had days where it was kind of a hassle because we had semis in the way," said Beard. "All in all, it wasn't that bad. We dealt with it, but it would be nice to have it open so you don't have to go in a round-about way."