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Bridge closed near Savanna; drivers asked to take 36-mile detour

March 1, 2018 GMT

SAVANNA – Safety issues on an attached causeway have forced the closure of the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge north of Savanna, probably until late May.

The bridge will be closed until an $8.4 million replacement is in place for a 350-foot causeway between Sabula and the larger bridge, the Iowa Department of Transportation said.

The Gardner bridge opened in November after an $80.6 million replacement project that took 2 years to complete.

Travelers are being asked to cross at Clinton, Iowa, about a 36-mile detour. Illinois drivers can take state Route 84 south to Fulton, cross the river on the Illinois 136 bridge, and go north on U.S. Route 67 to Sabula.

A 50-foot portion of the causeway, just east of Sabula, is unsafe. One side of the span settled about 5 inches, while another side settled about a foot, creating a visible change in the bridge deck, Iowa DOT planner Sam Shea said.

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The settling could be caused by age, high water from recent melting ice, or drilling work done for new piers for the replacement, Shea said.

Officials already were planning to replace the causeway, which was built in 1933, but hadn’t planned to tear down the current span until early April.