Repairs to Long Grove's covered bridge could take a month, officials estimate

  • Trucks are directed to drive around and not through the iconic bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road in Long Grove. The driver of a rented bus, however, drove through Saturday and damaged the recently reopened historic site.

    Trucks are directed to drive around and not through the iconic bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road in Long Grove. The driver of a rented bus, however, drove through Saturday and damaged the recently reopened historic site. Courtesy of Lucy Lampinen

 
 
Updated 8/18/2020 9:09 AM

Long Grove officials estimated Monday that new repairs to the village's iconic covered bridge, which was damaged Saturday by a rented school bus less than 23 hours after a public reopening ceremony, will take about a month.

The Compass Transportation bus snapped off planks of wood on both sides of the covered bridge on Robert Parker Coffin Road about 12:20 p.m. Saturday. The bridge is expected to stay open because an initial evaluation by the village staff on Saturday noted there did not appear to be structural damage.

 
The covered bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road still bears the damage from Saturday when the driver of a rented school bus tried to cross.
  The covered bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road still bears the damage from Saturday when the driver of a rented school bus tried to cross. - Neil Holdway | Staff Photographer

Village President Bill Jacob said Monday that a structural engineer will confirm that diagnosis at some point this week.

There are no cost estimates yet on Saturday's damage.

On Saturday, a 44-year-old bus driver crossed the bridge even though her GPS warned she should not proceed with the type of vehicle she was driving, according to Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Chris Covelli.

He said the bus occupants, a group of golfers, persuaded the driver to proceed.

Covelli said charges are pending against the driver, who accepted full responsibility.

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The accident came just one day after the bridge was reopened following extensive repairs needed after a 2018 accident. The bridge sustained serious damage in June 2018 when a box truck tried to cross it despite being too large.

At that time, the bridge was made entirely of wood.

The covered bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road still bears the damage from Saturday when the driver of a rented school bus tried to cross.
  The covered bridge on Robert Coffin Parker Road still bears the damage from Saturday when the driver of a rented school bus tried to cross. - Neil Holdway | Staff Photographer

Village Manager David Lothspeich said the village staff reached out Saturday to the same contractors who repaired the wood bridge cover over the past two years to let them know they'd probably need to come back sooner than they'd anticipated.

"They probably had the same reaction everyone had," Lothspeich said when asked how the contractors took the news.

"When I first saw the pictures from the crash my first thought was, 'Who's the wise guy Photoshopping this?' It's unbelievable."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Jacob said the village board elected to add a protective steel structure supporting the wooden bridge cover during the rebuild, and it appears to have worked as intended.

"That was a board decision, so I know the village board is feeling good about adding that," Jacob said.

Jacob said the timeline for repairs could be affected by the speed of the insurance companies involved.

He said he would expect the insurance company representing the bus company to be responsible for paying at least part of the repair costs.

Compass Transportation officials did not return phone calls Monday.

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