Covered Bridge Updates

UPDATED October 25th, 2018 9:00 a.m.

It has been a busy few weeks in Long Grove, and there are updates on the covered bridge. Several weeks ago the village board agreed to move forward on a discussion around repairing and painting the bridge in addition to replacing the canopy. There is a unique opportunity to lengthen the life span of the bridge, now that the canopy is off, an otherwise daunting task to complete in other circumstances. So what does this mean? Well, the foundation and super structure among other things will hopefully be repaired, and the bridge will be painted, before a new canopy is built. The estimated life span is much longer than just having put the canopy back on.

So in short, the bridge process now will likely last through 2019, as engineering, planning and construction will take many many months. In the next 6-8 weeks the board will learn of pricing to complete the repairs and will hopefully by early 2019, make final decisions on what work will commence.

The good news for the village and for residents is that the insurance company for the truck that destroyed the canopy has been cooperating, and will cover the cost for the canopy, the engineering on the canopy, as well as other items related to the canopy.

With that said, the federal 2 lane option is still not completely off the table. Upon further research by the village board, it would be possible to still replace the bridge with a federally funded option, if and only if the historic structure was moved and installed as a walking or vehicular bridge on a different site in Long Grove. Yes, you heard that right. Even though the bridge is on the federal historic register, it could still be moved (and preserved) which would pave the way for the unpopular federal option. Many residents also don’t know this, but there are two federally funded options. The first is a 2 lane road, and the second is a single lane one way bridge. The options have been widely unpopular by businesses and residents, but it is worth noting they may not be entirely off the table.

The conclusion for now is that the bridge will remain topless for some time ahead, and I will update as developments warrant, but there will likely be no observable work or observable progress until further into 2019, but rest assured that village officials and other stakeholders are working hard to move the process forward in a planning phase now.


UPDATED October 9th, 2018 8:57 a.m.

I have been attending the Village Board meetings as the Village is discussing the repairs and replacement on the bridge and canopy. The process is moving forward, and discussions are in place now to receive bids for certain portions of the work required. It appears the village may do additional work to the superstructure as well as the foundation, before the canopy is rebuilt. This appears to be in an effort to preserve the bridge for many many decades. Many have noticed the new clearance bars that have been installed. The bars have a height restriction of 10’ 6”; however at the last meeting the board approved further reducing the height to 8’ 6“. We do not know when the clearance bars will be lowered to reflect the new restrictions. In addition, the weight limit was increased to 4 tons, from 3 tons to allow reasonable sized vehicles (large pick up trucks, etc), that may currently be overweight, but not in a vehicle class that is reasonable to restrict. It would be impossible to enforce “no pick up trucks” as an example. In addition the maximum fine has been raised to $750. We will continue to bring you updates on these measures as they unfold.

In addition, we have submitted a proposal that outlines safety and further enforcement for the weight and height restrictions as well as the stop signs and speeding issues on Robert Parker Coffin. You can read that proposal here. Please email us with questions or if you have ideas you wish to add.


UPDATED September 18th, 2018 9:26 a.m.

As many have discovered, the now Uncovered Bridge has been reopened. The canopy has been removed, and there are temporary construction barricades that have been installed on the east and west sides of the bridge. Look for more permanent barricades to be installed later this week before Apple Fest, as well as a new clearance bars above, to reduce the height of passing vehicles.

The timeline for full repair and rebuild of the canopy will likely push into spring of 2019, although we will bring you updates from the Village Meetings as they develop.

We encourage everyone to PLEASE STOP at the stop signs on both the east and west sides of the bridge, even if there is no traffic on the other side. Residents are campaigning for enforcement and ticketing if stop signs and the bridge load/height requirements are not observed.


UPDATED September 7th, 2018 11:09 a.m.

The work has begun to remove the canopy on the Covered Bridge. The official update will come at the Long Grove village meeting on September, 11th, 2018. You can read the most recent update here and attend the meeting on the 11th if you have additional questions.

According to the update, if the temporary solutions to remove the canopy and add a temporary clearance bar are accepted by IDOT, the bridge my reopen as soon as the week of the 10th of September, 2018. If the bridge does not meet IDOT's requirements, it appears the bridge may remain closed until other solutions are deemed adequate.

It is important to note that the architecture and planning to build a new canopy will take many months, and so it is the goal to reopen the bridge to traffic during those "planning" months. While not confirmed, this will likely mean that the final Canopy will not be replaced until Spring of 2019, with appropriate clearance bars and until the winter weather concludes, although it could be sooner.

While our vision for Clearance Bars (as proposed on our blog) were different than the implementation the village has selected, we are happy that the trustees listened to our idea. Preventing truck traffic on the bridge (with or without a canopy) can only be accomplished with an obstruction, and the clearance bar will hopefully deter trucks from utilizing the bridge moving forward.


UPDATED August 24th, 2018 2:28 p.m.

The Village Board deferred action to demolish the damaged bridge canopy at the last village meeting on August 14th, 2018 due to Hartford Insurance informing the Village that they believe that the canopy can be restored rather than replaced.  As previously described, the Village structural engineer and architect determined that the canopy was damaged beyond repair and needed to be demolished and rebuilt.  The Village is pushing Hartford to come to an agreement on repair or replacement and the value of the work.  The Village Board will be considering the demolition contract again this coming Village Board meeting on August 28th and they hope that they will have resolved these issues prior to then so that the demolition contract can be approved and the bridge can be re-opened to traffic soon.

As confirmed by the village, this update implies that one option is to allow traffic to commence after the canopy is demolished and until a new canopy can be constructed. The final decision on whether to allow traffic will be impacted by the insurance company and the Village Board of Trustees. Stay tuned for more updates on this soon!


UPDATED August 14th, 2018 12:38 p.m.

The Board of Trustees will be voting on a resolution to demolish the bridge canopy at this weeks meeting on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018. You can read the resolution here. According to the resolution, this will allow for additional steps in the repair process to commence. Those proposed steps can be read about in the memorandum link below. We encourage those residents who have questions to attend the meeting, and voice their concerns in that public forum.


ORIGINAL POST: July 31st, 2018 12:26 p.m.

If you've been following the historical covered bridge repairs planning, it goes without saying that the process has just gotten started. At the village meeting on July 10th, 2018 the village engineer submitted a memorandum including their assessment of the damage and recommendations for the repairs. We should be clear this memorandum is only a list of findings and recommendations, and not necessarily the final plan to fix the bridge.

We will request an update from the village shortly and post any final decisions that may have been made about repairs.

Here are the important parts of the document;

" Tasks Completed:

Thursday, June 28, 2018 RPC bridge evaluated by Civiltech, Village’s structural consultant and NBIS (National Bridge Inspection Standards) Manager)

Thursday, June 28, 2018 Bridge evaluated by Oleson Design Studio, independent architect

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Plans for temporary bracing completed

Friday, July 6, 2018 Contractor retained for temporary bracing

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Temporary bracing construction complete

In consideration of the unknowns, we submit the following as potential next steps:

1. Civiltech will inspect temporary bracing, substructure/abutments and steel structure on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

2. Civiltech’s report of the condition of the substructure/abutments and steel structure, as it relates to the accident, is anticipated by Friday, July 13, 2018

3. Secure approval from insurance company for timber cover demolition, coordinate with IDOT bridge office and National Registry of Historic Places. Anticipated July 2018.

4. Complete plans and bid documents for timber cover reconstruction. Anticipated September 2018.

5. Obtain permits/approvals from IDOT Bridge Office and National Registry of Historic Places for timber cover installation. Anticipated October 2018.

6. Bidding of Timber Cover construction. Anticipated November 2018.

7. Award of Timber Cover construction. Anticipated December 2018.

8. Construction of Timber Cover. Anticipated completion March 2019, weather depending.

Note: The schedule above assumes no damage was done to the substructure/abutments or steel trusses as a result of the June 27, 2018 accident. Should any repairs or improvements be needed to the substructure/abutments or steel trusses, the complexity and timeframe for the project will be extended. At this time, we believe it is the best-case scenario that a timber cover is reconstructed in 9-10 months. As more information is obtained, we will update the timeline accordingly.

We will continue to update the community on what we learn from the village as decisions are made about this historic landmark."


Ben Finch2 Comments