Forest preserve officials mull future of old bridge

Published: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Kane County Forest Preserve officials are deciding whether to repair, replace or remove a concrete bridge that had been used for decades to link the west shore of the Fabyan Forest Preserve to an island in the Fox River.

This week, the Kane County Forest Preserve District announced it had closed the aged structure over the Fox River after the bridge suffered a structural failure.

Laurie Metanchuk, director of community affairs for the Forest Preserve District, said district officials had noted cracks in the structure some time ago.

But damage became notably worse in recent weeks. This week, forest preserve staff discovered the bridge had “cracked through,” and a section of the bridge had “heaved up” about four inches, creating a trip hazard and making the bridge unsuitable for use, Metanchuk said.

The bridge will remain closed indefinitely as the district decides what to do with the structure, Metanchuk said. The Fox River still can be crossed within the Fabyan Forest Preserve on a wood-and-steel bridge about one-tenth of a mile north of the concrete structure.

Metanchuk noted any plans are complicated by the knowledge the bridge has stood in that spot for many years.

“We don’t really know how old it is,” she said. “We know it’s at least 70 years old, and it predates the Forest Preserve [District] buying the property.

“It could be even 10 to 15 years older than that.”

She said the district is obtaining cost estimates for repair and replacement of the bridge, but the district also will consider removing the structure.

“And we know that people will be upset if it is removed and not replaced,” Metanchuk said.

She expects cost estimates to be received later this fall. Any action on the bridge, however, could stretch into 2013.

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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