Road collapse in Seneca may cost $1.2 million to repair

Village seeks funding, but it may take several months to come to fruition

The collapsed roadway on River Road in Seneca may take up to two years before it’s fixed, depending on how the village funds the project.

The project may cost $1.2 million, Engineer Casey McCollom of Chamlin and Associates told the Seneca Village Board on Tuesday. He said it will cost roughly $1 million to build a new bridge next to the washout and another $200,000 in other costs, such as engineering fees or possible property acquisitions.

While the bridge itself didn’t collapse, the road next to the bridge was washed out from flash flooding July 12. That caused the channel below the bridge to redirect itself and grow nearly twice the size. This means the bridge will have to increase its height and width in order to be safe for travel and prevent any future washouts.

Funding is an issue, McCollom said. The city will try to acquire grant funding, but the funding will come with requirements that will take time to meet. Even if the city were to receive a grant, it will likely be on the hook for 20% of the project to match the funding, he said.

McCollom said one option for the city is to pay for the design work on the bridge now and have it ready for when funding becomes available, which may speed up the process.

Mayor Jeff Olson said he will be talking via phone conference with Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Transportation this week to see if there’s any money available.

“We’re still hopeful we’re going to find funding,” Olson said. “We’re trying not to leave any stone left unturned.”

Seneca officials have met with state Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) and Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) to see if the state can assist the village.

In the meantime, Commissioner Kent Weber said River Road is closed. He said there have been several people going to the site to see it.

“Please stop going out there,” he said.

There is a 25-foot drop with a 15- to 20-foot hole where the washout occurred. He said the bridge remains unstable and no vehicles are allowed on it.

A pedestrian went around the barricade and fell into the collapsed area earlier this week, confirmed Seneca Police Chief George Lamboley.

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.