Watch: Crane puts historic Long Grove bridge back in place on way to comeback
With part of a restoration project completed, downtown Long Grove's 114-year-old bridge was lowered back into place over Buffalo Creek on Tuesday and now awaits its signature wooden cover before making a full comeback from damage caused by a truck crash almost two years ago.
Crews removed the historic bridge in March and placed it on a flatbed truck parked off Robert Parker Coffin Road to accommodate other work, such as concrete abutment replacement and a painting of the span.
Woodstock-based Alliance Contractors Inc. must finish the bridge approaches and a couple of other tasks before the structure is ready for its new timber cover. Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob said the project is on target for completion in early July or sooner.
To return the bridge to its proper spot, the flatbed was backed up to the creek Tuesday morning. A massive crane then grabbed the bridge, slowly brought it into place and set it down.
"The construction is proceeding very nicely," Village Engineer Geoff Perry said during a brief break near the bridge. "The rains that we had in May were a challenge from time to time, but all in all, everything is going very well."
John Kopecky, who owns Country House of Long Grove just a stone's throw east of the bridge, is glad to see it back over the creek.
"So many people, they purposely come down here, they'll go out of their way to come into Long Grove through this bridge," Kopecky said.
Two weeks after landing on the National Register of Historic Places, the one-lane covered bridge was hit by a box truck on June 27, 2018. It was closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for more than two months as a result.
Constructed in 1906 by the Joliet Bridge and Iron Co., the span is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected pony truss bridge built for an urban setting, according to documents submitted by for the national landmark process. The cover was added in 1972 to help preserve the bridge and limit traffic from trucks and other heavy vehicles.
Perry said a steel skeleton will be installed on the bridge for the wooden cover. There will be a horizontal steel beam camouflaged by the timber cover to provide protection in the event of another crash on the bridge, which had a 10-foot, 6-inch-tall height restriction posted on a sign when the truck plowed through it.
"You'll see the bridge much like it existed two years ago before it was hit by that box truck," Perry said.
Village board members last year approved a $747,903 contract with Alliance for the bridge renovation and a $166,860 agreement with Carmichael Construction Inc. of Marengo to install the wooden cover. Officials have said insurance money, a state grant, private donations and other sources will significantly reduce the village's cost.