Large Crowd Expresses Concern Over Bridge

A capacity crowd forced Tuesday night’s Bond County Board meeting to be held in the county courtroom. Several dozen people showed up to express their concern over safety issues presented by the wooden bridge on Red Ball Trail. The worn-out wooden bridge is the property of the railroad company and county officials have not had response from the railroad regarding necessary repairs.

Several in attendance encouraged the board and Bond County Highway Engineer Jeremy Pestle to continue making calls, climbing the ladder higher than the railroad company, to state and federal legislators.

Pestle and Board Chairman Howard Elmore assured the crowd that they had contacted the railroad company as well as the Illinois Commerce Commission, which oversees railways. Elmore said he had talked to state and federal representatives, including Jason Plummer, Rodney Davis, and Dick Durbin. State’s Attorney Dora Mann emphasized that the county is doing everything it can to address the issue.

Pestle and board members encouraged those in attendance to also contact the railroad, the ICC, and state and federal legislators. Pestle said he recently found a contact with a federal railroad authority and he was going to contact them next.

In the event that repairs are not made to the bridge by the railroad company, Pestle said the county has two options: close the bridge completely or build a new one.

He said if the bridge is closed, it is almost a certainty that the railroad will not make repairs at that point. The county hopes to build a new bridge, next to the existing wooden bridge, which would be the property of Bond County. Pestle said that project could be two to three years away.

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