Continued closure of Florence Bridge causing hardships for area - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Continued closure of Florence Bridge causing hardships for area farmers


The continued closure of the Florence Bridge between Pike and Scott counties is affecting everyone in both counties, especially farmers trying to deliver grain to local elevators.

This line of trucks at a grain elevator is a common sight during harvest, but what's uncommon is the amount of money farmers are spending to get there.

The sound of corn unloading at the grain elevator is one that Winchester farmer, Jeff Moore, has heard 77 times already this harvest, and he's only halfway done.

He and his family have taken their corn to Cargill in Florence for the past 50 years, but this year is different.

"Now that the bridge is closed, we've got to come to either CGB in Naples or we're driving over here to Griggsville," Moore said.

Moore says before the Florence bridge closed, his drive to the Cargill elevator was only seven miles. Now it's 35, forcing him to instead take the shorter 22 mile drive to the Maschhoffs elevator in Griggsville.

"It would cost me a lot more fuel and a lot more time than coming over here," Moore said. 

That's the same choice most other Scott County farmers are making, too, leaving Cargill in a tough situation.

"We get about 70 percent of our grain from the east side, which is the other side (of the Illinois River)," Cargill Plant Manager Dan McClenning said. "So that grain is going to other markets, so it's not coming here."

McClenning said that it feels more like early summer than Harvest season around the elevator and he has fewer people working.

"Usually we do hire temporary employees for that time period and that hasn't happened," McClenning said.

A closed draw bridge drawing concern for those dealing with an already tough harvest.

The Florence Bridge was unexpectedly closed by the Illinois Department of Transportation in late June after finding structural issues in the bridge during a routine inspection. IDOT spokesman Josh Kauffman says they hope to have the bridge operational by the spring planting season.

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