Long Grove hires company to dismantle iconic bridge's wooden cover

Long Grove village board members Tuesday night hired a company to dismantle the timber covering of the historic Robert Parker Coffin Road bridge that was heavily damaged after a box truck plowed into it in late June.

Village Manager David Lothspeich said the bridge will reopen after the wooden cover is demolished. Village Engineer Geoff Perry said the work could start in about a week and likely take a day to complete.

Lothspeich said barriers will be placed around the bridge to prevent traffic from using the span that crosses Buffalo Creek before the work is finished.

"What this will mean is with the demolition of the cover, there will be full access to vehicular and pedestrian traffic while the village goes through the process of redesigning the cover, going out for bids, getting necessary permits and approvals to put a new cover on the bridge," Lothspeich said.

Village board members at Tuesday's session voted to hire John Neri Construction Co. Inc. of Addison to remove and possibly dispose of the timber for a maximum $13,000. The village expects to be reimbursed for the demolition through an insurance claim with The Hartford.

On Aug. 14, the village board postponed the decision on the timber cover removal after citing concerns about not receiving money from the insurance claim.

Lothspeich said a representative from The Hartford said Tuesday the village will be paid on the claim, but he will get that in writing.

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

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.

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