Renovating Libertyville bridge truss not in the cards, village says
After nearly a century of use over two rivers, the decorative steel span attached to the Rockland Road bridge over the Des Plaines River in Libertyville will be removed and scrapped.
An inspection revealed the span was so severely deteriorated that officials feared it might collapse and they closed the bridge Feb. 1 as a safety concern. There had been talk of disassembling and storing the 150-foot-long, 36-foot-wide truss for possible renovation.
However, after reviewing the options, officials determined that wasn't possible.
"We've made the decision to scrap the metal," Village Administrator Chris Clark said. "Removal and haul-away is the best method from a cost standpoint."
Clark said the village is reviewing bids for that work. The matter is on a fast track.
The goal is to reopen Rockland Road as soon as possible, Clark added, but it is expected to take about two weeks to remove the span.
Mayor Terry Weppler said the original idea was to store pieces of the truss at the village's wastewater treatment plant but its condition and associated costs have dictated otherwise.
"It's not salvageable right now. Parts of it are 90 percent gone," Weppler said.
In 1960, Libertyville village officials were confronted with the dilemma of repairing or replacing the existing bridge at Rockland Road.
According to published reports, village officials decided to obtain a portion of a secondhand span that crossed the Kaskaskia River in downstate Vandalia that was available from the state because the highway leading to it was being relocated. The original bridge and span there was dedicated July 4, 1921.
It was moved and reinstalled in Libertyville in 1962 and served for more than two decades.
The bridge was rebuilt and widened in 1989.
Concrete replaced the steel grate base and although the trestle also was widened, the original truss remained in place for aesthetic reasons.
Responsibility for the bridge is shared equally by the village and Libertyville Township.
"I'm on the same page with the village as far as scrapping this thing after finding out the condition," said Marty Neal, township highway commissioner.
"This truss is 100 years old and it's showing it."
Plans are in progress to replace and raise the bridge structure, a $2.9 million project anticipated in 2021 or 2022.
Federal funding would pay 80 percent of that cost but whether it would be available for decorative element such as the truss is unknown.
Weppler said the plaques and perhaps part of the steel framework would be saved for historical purposes.