Quincy officials say they are closer than ever to replacing the Memorial Bridge.
The proposed new Memorial Bridge would be two blocks south of the current location. It would connect at York and 3rd Streets. Officials said that would eliminate the steep hill trucks have to climb coming off the current bridge but those drivers said that’s not the only change that needs to be made.
Driver Jim Hunter uses the Memorial Bridge to pick up his payload in Quincy but every time he crosses the narrow bridge, he said it’s a challenge.
"It says it’s marked 14 foot but that’s 14 foot in the middle. On the sides, car haulers can be 14 foot high so if you’re 14 foot, you have to stay in the middle and that takes up both lanes," said Hunter.
City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer said Quincy is a step closer to replacing the bridge after the Central Services Committee approved creating a regional transportation plan on Monday.
"We are hoping to seek consultants to develop a transportation plan that would look at some of the issues and concerns that the city has as it relates to the new memorial bridge location which the preferred route is off of York Street," said Bevelheimer.
Bevelheimer said that transportation plan will cost around $150,000. Through a grant, IDOT will cover $120,000, while the city covers the rest. He says the plan will look at the impact of moving the bridge two blocks south and how it plays into the Quincy Next Strategic Plan.
"We oughta work with IDOT to consider decoupling the one ways in the downtown, third and fourth streets and making those two ways and turning fourth street back into a local street so it becomes more pedestrian friendly," said Bevelheimer.
Meanwhile, drivers like Hunter say a new bridge can’t be built fast enough.
"Of course when you get across the bridge, you have the hill," said Hunter. "If you get stopped by that stoplight up there it’s ridiculous taking off especially if you’re heavy."
Bevelheimer said the city’s finance committee must approve the city’s portion of the funding for that transportation plan. He thinks that could happen Monday. Then, the city will take the next 30 days to find a company to create the plan. Bevelheimer said the plan would take up to a year to complete.