Long Grove’s historic covered bridge on Monday, February 1, 2021 was hit for the fourth time in recent history. The driver of a Prism Health Care Service box truck ignored the yellow diamond-shaped clearance warning sign at the top of the covered bridge and crashed into the upper part of the covered bridge. The box compartment of the box truck opened like it was peeled back by a can opener. The Robert Parker Coffin Road bridge over Buffalo Creek was not as severely damaged as in previous modern collisions. Initially no injuries were reported.
In recent history, the bridge sustained severe structural damage when it was hit by a box truck in June 2018. The original one-lane bridge was built in 1906, and the first bridge cover was added in 1972 to help preserve the bridge from the elements and prevent heavy, oversize vehicles from crossing the bridge. The original cover was essentially destroyed in June 2018.
After the covered bridge was hit in June 2018, a sturdier covered bridge with steel components was reopened following a construction period of two years. The new 2018 cover, constructed with a steel skeleton and a wood “skin”, can be observed by a pedestrian crossing the bridge and looking overhead. Wood covers the steel skeleton, preserving the original quaint look for downtown Long Grove. Immediately following the 2020 re-opening, the bridge was hit twice in a period of less than one week.
The bridge on Robert Parker Coffin Road, which is the southwest exit and entrance to downtown Long Grove, was damaged by a school bus Saturday August 15, 2020, and a box truck on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Drivers of both vehicles attempted to drive through the covered bridge, ignoring warning signs of an 8’6” height limit, and ignoring warning signs to turn away to an alternate route for large vehicles.
The school bus crash into the covered bridge occurred less than 23 hours after Long Grove held a grand re-opening ceremony for the bridge. The rented school bus was transporting adult golfers. The driver of the school bus and the driver of the box truck were cited by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
There are signs warning about the height restriction, and there is a sign warning “no trucks” and the prohibitive 5-ton limit ahead of the bridge. Truck drivers approaching the bridge from either side are warned to turn away to avoid crossing the bridge. Violators are subject to a $500 fine. The Speed Limit along Robert Parker Coffin Road is 25 MPH.
By comparison to the other recent crashes, the February 1, 2021 crash appeared to cause less damage to the wood “skin” covering the steel structure. However, the box compartment of the box truck was destroyed.
“Say goodbye to your truck” is heard in a video of the truck vs bridge crash captured by Jeffrey Taylor and posted on his Facebook page.
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