The downtown Du Quoin overpass that carries Route 51 over the CN (formerly Illinois Central) tracks will be closed for about a month, starting on Monday, March 8.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said Route 51 will be closed between Division and Hickory streets to all but emergency vehicles while the bridge is undergoing repair.
Crews will be repairing the concrete parapets -- the walls on either side of the overpass, according to IDOTs construction engineer Doug Helfrich. No work will be done on the surface of the overpass, which means police and fire vehicles and ambulances will be able to cross, Helfrich confirmed.
Truck traffic that normally comes through Du Quoin will be rerouted between state routes 14 and 154, via state Route 148, Helfrich said.
Mayor Guy Alongi said when they monitored truck traffic in 2019, the last time the overpass was closed, trucks for the most part followed the detour and stayed off Main Street.
"There were a few that violated the detour, but for the most part they did a halfway decent job" of avoiding Main Street, he said. Alongi said police will monitor trucks during this closure, too, and for the first offense will give warnings. Drivers who ignore the detour a second time could get ticketed, he added.
"We're trying to avoid damage as much as possible," the mayor said. A tractor trailer carrying 44,000 pounds of load can heat up Main Street's asphalt and do permanent damage.
Helfrich said the overpass itself is in pretty good shape, and said no other work on it is currently scheduled. The 2019 work repaired some of the piers.
The overpass, originally called the Poplar Street Overpass, was opened in 1995 and moved heavy Route 51 traffic off Main Street.
It was renamed for former Du Quoin mayor John Rednour in 2014.
• For IDOT district 9 updates, follow Twitter at @IDOTDistrict9 or view area construction details on IDOT's Traveler Information Map on GettingAroundIllinois.com.