Long Grove postpones hiring company to demolish bridge cover

Citing concerns about not receiving money from an insurance claim, Long Grove village board members Tuesday agreed to postpone hiring a company to demolish a timber cover over the historic downtown bridge that was heavily damaged after a box truck plowed into the span in late June.

Village Manager David Lothspeich told the elected officials that The Hartford insurance firm provided an opinion stating the wood from the damaged cover is suitable for reuse. However, the village's engineering and architecture consultants have opposite opinions.

Officials agreed that more information should be gathered and that a decision on the demolition should be made at the Aug. 28 board meeting. Long Grove would want to be reimbursed through a claim with The Hartford for what could be demolition work costing $13,000 to $17,800, depending on which of three bidding companies is selected.

"I think there are too many things we don't know to move on it tonight," Trustee Bobbie O'Reilly said Tuesday.

Two weeks after landing on the National Register of Historic Places, the iconic one-lane Robert Parker Coffin Road covered bridge was hit by the truck June 27. It's been closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic since the crash.

Lake County sheriff's police said Deputy Greg Abshire was doing paperwork while parked near the bridge when he heard a loud crash that turned out to be a box truck striking the top of the structure. Besides not fitting under the 10-foot, 6-inch-tall bridge, authorities said, the 15,000-pound empty rental truck exceeded a 6,000-pound limit.

Truck driver Eriberto Orozco, 30, of the 3500 block of North Lowell Avenue in Chicago, was cited for disobeying a stop sign, disobeying a traffic control device, driving an overweight vehicle on the bridge and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, police said.

Village Engineer Geoff Perry said he learned Tuesday that Long Grove is eligible to receive federal assistance for the repairs because the covered bridge is a national landmark. He said the federal government would pay 80 percent of repairs through a program administered by the state, with Long Grove handling the balance.

Perry said there are different covered bridge repair options and potential costs that officials will need to decide before seeking any federal funding. He cautioned there is more to know about tapping into the fund.

"What does the fund actually have for monies available?" Perry said. "If there's the monies available to the village, then the question is of how competitive is it? What's the application requirements."

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