Bridge study looking to help semi-truck drivers and businesses - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Bridge study looking to help semi-truck drivers and businesses

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BNSF railroad bridge BNSF railroad bridge
Height and Width Maximum Clearance Height and Width Maximum Clearance
Fines for the semis going over Fines for the semis going over
View of the bridge from the driver seat View of the bridge from the driver seat
Could help Fort Madison and the downtown district. Could help Fort Madison and the downtown district.
FORT MADISON, Ia. (WGEM) -

Semi trucks on a busy, narrow bridge that connects Lee County, Iowa and Hancock County, Illinois.

It's been talked about for several years and now a study will be done to see if improvements can be made. 

But drivers have mixed opinions on this issue. 

The BNSF Bridge that connects Fort Madison, Iowa and Niota, Illinois has signs up that say no semi's allowed or a $250 fine.

Hundreds of cars go across the BNSF bridge a day.

Drivers said it's an experience. 

"It's narrow and the cars are close," Rita Cashman-Becker said. 

Putting a semi in the other lane, could make it even worse. 

"I can see how it will be hard for them. Safety is important," Cashman-Becker said.  

Tippy Gates worked on the bridge toll booth for years and said there shouldn't be a problem. 

"The railroad runs two trains simultaneously on the bridge, so I don't see any harm in letting a semi go," Gates said. 

Iowa and Illinois, Southeast Iowa Regional Planning, and local businesses have kicked in funds to complete the $360,000 survey.

It will look to see if the bridge can make improvements to it's height and weight restrictions.

"It would benefit multiple companies,"City Manager David Varley said. "They would have to remove the restrictions and get rid of the zig-zag road and straighten it out both ends of it." 

The bridge is owned by BNSF but the city had to make a decision at their last city council meeting because they would receive grant funds for the project. 

"The council has taken it slow but committed to the study to see where it goes from here," Varley said. 

Gates believes improvements would help truck drivers but also the struggling downtown district. 

"Stop and getting something to eat, use the motels when they get tired, I think it would be great to have them here," Gates said.  

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