UPDATE

SABULA, Iowa — A bridge that allows travel across the Mississippi River at Sabula is expected to be closed for months, state officials told the Telegraph Herald this morning. 

“We are hopeful that we can have the bridge open right around Memorial Day,” said Sam Shea, Iowa Department of Transportation planner.

On Monday night, officials closed the smaller bridge that is just north of the Sabula city limits, citing safety concerns. 

The bridge that was closed is not the new, $80 million Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge that spans the river and connects Sabula and Savanna, Ill. Still, the closure of the smaller bridge outside Sabula cuts off access across the river.

Today, Iowa DOT officials said mechanical issues with existing piers and settlement will force the bridge to remain closed indefinitely.

A press release said the bridge was "currently in the process of being replaced" and that the stretch of roadway won't reopen until a new bridge is completed, likely by late May. 

“We were doing work on that bridge, and we had a contractor on site,” Shea said. “We originally planned a 40-day detour there. That detour wasn’t supposed to start until April. With this safety concern, we’ve already got that detour planned.”

The detour route between Sabula and Savanna involves driving south on U.S. 67 and crossing the river at Clinton along Illinois 136 before heading north on Illinois 84. That adds about 36 miles to a one-way trip between the cities.

ORIGINAL

SABULA, Iowa -- Officials have closed a bridge that allows travel across the Mississippi River at Sabula over safety concerns. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced at about 8:10 p.m. today that U.S. 52 across the river was closed. 

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported that the DOT had closed the smaller bridge that is just north of the Sabula city limits. It will remain closed until at least noon Tuesday, Feb. 27, "until it can be inspected for safety."

"The DOT received a report of settling in the pavement of the road," states a press release from the sheriff's department. "We do not have any further information at this time until the DOT can perform their inspection during daylight hours."

Authorities noted that the bridge being closed is not the new, $80 million Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge that spans the river and connects Sabula and Savanna. Still, the closure of the smaller bridge outside Sabula cuts off access across the river. 

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