September 24, 2008

The Overpass to Nowhere

I was just reading an email on the ChampaignCountyBikes.org mailing list that discussed the possibility of building a new overpass on a county road over some railroad tracks. I'm not all that familiar with the area in question, so I can't really say whether it would be a worthwhile project. The email did include a figure that I've been wondering about for a few years. Apparently the cost to build such an overpass is estimated at $9,700,000.

9.7. Million. Dollars.

The reason I've wondered is because a few years back I came across the most bewildering sight while bicycling by myself just north of Mansfield, Illinois. I was in the absolute middle of nowhere and I passed a small county road with an overpass over a set of railroad tracks. Every other road had level crossings over these tracks, including some with way more traffic (though still not much). Why on earth would this one particular road, with little-to-no traffic, have an overpass? Why would some governing body waste millions of (presumably taxpayer) dollars on such an overpass to nowhere?

Below is a map of the overpass. If you can determine why it's there, I'd sure like to know.

View Larger Map

2 comments:

Melissa said...

maybe they could make it 5% grade and it would be good hill training for you.

if i had that kind of money i would use it to save the rainforest or feed hungry people.

Eric Smith said...

I know exactly where this is. It used to be a really neat old wooden bridge. I used to drive by this every day on my way to work when I lived in Farmer City. I was sad to see them build a new one.