LACON, Ill. (WMBD) — One busy Central Illinois bridge will soon be shutting down while it undergoes construction.

Leaders with The Illinois Department of Transportation [IDOT] said the Illinois River bridge at Lacon, along Route 17, will be closed for repairs starting around March 20 and is expected to reopen on or before Nov 3.

Paul Wappel, the public information officer for IDOT, said the repairs are much needed and it’s been about three decades since its last improvements.

“The last time we did an upgrade, and upgrade was done, was 1990,” Wappel said.

Wappel said the project has been in the works since the Fall of 2019.

He said the project was awarded at about $10.1 million with funds coming from Rebuild Illinois. He said the project will include structural steel repairs, the replacement of bridge joints and portions of the bridge deck [the riding surface].

“The work that will be done include bridge deck scarification, concrete overlay, bridge joints will be replaced, about 14 bridge joints,” Wappel said. “Painting, roadway navigation lighting replacement, and bridge drainage improvements will also done.”

But remastering the bridge also means rerouting the drivers for the time-being.

Wappel said IDOT will be posting a detour route which will use Illinois 29, Illinois 18, and Illinois 26 to make the loop from Sparland to Lacon or Lacon to Sparland.

“Please plan ahead and maybe allow a little more extra time to get to where you’re going during construction,” Wappel said.

Some in Lacon said they’re looking forward to the improvements to the bridge, but not the inconveniences coming their way.

Amy Preuser, owner of the Hair Shack in Lacon, said the detours won’t impact her commute but it will impact her traveling clients.

“They’re not happy, well, especially with the gas prices they’re not happy, but they’re glad it’s getting fixed,” Preuser said.

She said she’s also happy for the repairs and will make accommodations for her clients who will be detoured.

“During planting season I’ll give them like a 15 minute window to get here in case they get stuck behind a tractor while coming over the Henry bridge,” Preuser said.

Will Meliska said he is one of the people who will have to switch up his routes since he also attends college in Peru.

“I take this bridge everyday,” Meliska said. “It’s a 40 minute drive there from the bridge, so without the bridge it’s going to add like 10 to 15 minutes so it’s going to be just a lot of driving.”

He said it’s going to a pros and cons scenario.

“It’s really going to affect just everything. I’m going to have to wake up earlier, I’m going to have to leave earlier, Meliska said. “I’m glad it’s getting done but the inconvenience does suck, but at least it’s getting done.”