Historic, 114-year-old bridge lifted back into place

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Robert Parker Coffin Road Bridge. (Photo by: Mark Welsh, Daily Herald).
Robert Parker Coffin Road Bridge. (Photo by: Mark Welsh, Daily Herald).

Performing any kind of maintenance on a 114-year-old bridge is always going to be complex, but when you have to lift the 40,000-pound bridge off its foundation things really start to get challenging.

Illinois-based Stevenson Crane Service Inc. SCS says it provided the lifting capabilities for the recent and highly successful Robert Parker Coffin Road Bridge project in Long Grove, IL.

The bridge over Buffalo Creek is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was damaged by a traffic accident several years ago. It was built in 1906 and is a rare surviving example of a construction method called a “pin-connected pony truss” bridge.

SCS worked with crews from Woodstock, IL-based Alliance Contractors Inc. and Marengo, IL-based Carmichael Construction Inc. on the bridge restoration project. Workers had to lift the bridge off its foundation and set it temporarily on a flatbed truck while they conducted repairs to the concrete support structures and performed other necessary painting work. SCS used a Liebherr 500-ton crane to lift the bridge.

“This was such a great project to be a part of,” said Curt Slipke, vice-president, sales at SCS. “I’m not sure many companies get the chance to lift more than 114 years of history – that was a great experience. Our hope is the bridge will continue to serve Long Grove for another 100 years.”

Now that the bridge has been returned to its normal position, workers will be completing final touches and will also be installing a new wooden cover. A structural steel skeleton will also be installed to provide additional protection for the future.

In total, contracts for the project amounted to approximately $915.000. The project is scheduled to be fully complete in July.

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