Route 23 in Ottawa congested from construction on Veterans Memorial Bridge

City is asking IDOT to move construction to night time hours

Traffic was stalled at Veterans Memorial Bridge in Ottawa during the evening commute Friday, June 24, 2022.

Congestion on Veterans Memorial Bridge on Route 23 in Ottawa could be a problem all summer after construction began earlier this week.

During the morning and evening commute times, Route 23 has been backed up several blocks.

Mayor Dan Aussem said the city has been in contact with the Illinois Department of Transportation and learned construction is expected to last until Sept. 3, with the timeframe of 8 to 10 weeks given to repair some structural issues.

“We’ve been in conversations with them to see what we can do to make it better but it probably didn’t help when the sign on the interstate is encouraging people to avoid congestion at the roundabout by taking Route 23 and Route 71 through Ottawa to get to Starved Rock,” Aussem said. “I’m not sure they realized they were closing two lanes on the bridge but I think they should have given that some thought.”

IDOT said the work consists of removing and replacing the bridge’s expansion joints, deck slab patching and structural repairs in a June 13 news release. This project, which costs $2.6 million, will limit the bridge to one lane each direction through the fall.

Aussem said the hope right now is IDOT can ease congestion by moving the construction to night time, but that’s the city of Ottawa has not heard a response.