Vehicles Hit Illinois Covered Bridge Twice After Reopening

August 21, 2020

LONG GROVE, Ill. — A covered bridge in northern Illinois has been damaged twice by vehicles within days of its reopening after a $1 million rebuild repaired severe damage a delivery truck inflicted in 2018.

Less than 24 hours after Long Grove’s iconic covered bridge reopened on Friday, it was struck by a chartered bus, and on Wednesday another vehicle struck the more than century-old span, WLS-TV reported.

June Neumann, owner of Viking Treasures in Long Grove, said she heard the bus collide with the bridge last weekend. “I said oh no, oh no,” Neumann told the station.

She also heard Wednesday’s collision, after which the colliding vehicle fled, leaving behind debris.

Ben Finch, who lives near the bridge, saw Wednesday’s collision.

“I think what goes through all of our minds is like, `Wow, these people. What are they doing?”’ Finch said.

The bridge, which dates to 1906, graces the Lake County village’s emblem, storefronts and signs.

“It’s just a huge part of where we’ve been and where we are. It’s a connection piece,” said Jesse DeSoto, Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association president.

The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018. Sixteen days later, a box truck plowed into it, severely damaging the structure, which was closed after being deemed structurally unsound.

The two-year rebuild included engineering work and construction.

Village Manager David Lothspeich said village officials are considering putting physical barriers in front of the bridge to try to prevent such collisions. Steel reinforcements added during the rebuild are keeping the bridge structurally sound, he said.

“People size it up and sometimes they don’t size it up correctly, and they still go regardless of whether or not it’s overweight or oversize,” Lothspeich said.

Photo courtesy of the Village of Long Grove.

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