Rain prevented the possible "third week of October" reopening of the repainted Route 251 bridge over the Illinois River at Peru.

"They would have been done this week if they would have been dry last week," said Don Ernat, area supervising engineer for Illinois Department of Transportation, Ottawa.

However, with rain preventing completion of painting work last week and more rain forecast today and Friday, the bridge opening is likely at the beginning of next week, he said.

Fair weather early this week allowed the bridge painters to touch up spots covered or scraped by attachments for tarps that hung from trusses above the bridge deck and spots missed or nicked because of cables that were holding up a metal "Safe Span" assembly below the bridge during repainting.

Repainted safety fences are back at the work site and should be installed on the bridge walls over Water Street soon.

With the bridge closed and almost completely repainted, IDOT was able to have a crew repaint pavement stripes, and IDOT called the city of Peru to work on lights.

Era Valdivia Contractors of Chicago has the contract for the $2.72 million project, which originally had a required completion date of Oct. 30.

The bridge closed for the project in April.

Bridge facts:

- Originally constructed in 1958, the bridge was rebuilt in the early 1990s.

-In 1992, through an act by the Illinois General Assembly, the bridge was renamed in memory of Joseph Wallin, a worker who fell to his death during the reconstruction of the bridge.

- The average daily traffic count on the bridge was 12,800 in 2007, according to Bridgehunter.com.

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