Lacon bridge closure creates uncertainty for small businesses

It’s expected to remain closed until November
This closure will force some to reroute their plans
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 4:42 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - As part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, roads, highways and bridges across the state are being updated and repaired.

That includes the Route 17 bridge in Lacon, which will soon be closed for several months.

One small business owner is afraid the bridge closure may cut customer traffic in half.

In just a few days, Saturday, March 18, the Route 17 bridge crossing the Illinois River at Lacon will close for repairs, forcing residents to take a long detour to cross the river.

“People need to support our small businesses, especially at this time,” says Amanda King, who works near the bridge and crosses it everyday to work in downtown Lacon, “this is going to impact the small businesses in this community largely.”

Businesses like the coffee hub.

“I lost count of how many people have said, regulars even, saying ‘they had to come in’ because they don’t know when they will be able to come in,” says owner Zachary Weber, who not only uses the bridge to get supplies for his store, now he’s concerned he’ll lose a big chunk of his regular customers.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Weber continues, “it’s definitely going to be some added stress to the day. The traffic from the bridge alone, whether it’s Peoria to Chicago traffic or just our locals that live just across the river, it’s going to affect our sales at least 30-45% of our sales.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) suggests drivers use either Illinois 29, Illinois 18 or Illinois 26 as a detour.

For many like Marissa King, a cosmetology student in Peoria, she says this detour will reroute her morning routine, “I was worried because gas was already high. Having to drive an extra 25 minutes probably out of the way every single day to go to school is definitely going to hurt my wallet.”

The bridge will remain closed until November.

This repair is a part of the $8.6 billion of improvements statewide on 4,422 miles of highway, 412 bridges and 621 additional safety improvements.