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Repair of covered bridge incident that got trucker publicly fired will take years


The covered bridge destroyed by a truck driver who was publicly fired for the incident will take years to repair, the Illinois Department of Transportation says. 

The truck driver caused extensive damage to the Red Covered Bridge in Princeton, Illinois in November of 2023 when she tried to drive her rig over the structure but could not fit. While the driver was not cited for the incident, the trucking company she worked for fired her, and even made a public statement that they would “make sure that companies who want to hire her will know about” the mistake. 

According to KWQC 6, IDOT is currently conducting a Bridge Condition Report, which will include potential repairs needed to restore the bridge. A second report will then need to be completed to solidify the scope of the repairs and estimate costs before IDOT can come to an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office.

“Preparation, detailed construction plans and specifications, as well as a detailed cost estimate. That phase is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. And that will result in advertising repair contract to bidders,” said IDOT spokesperson Paul Wappel.

“It’s just such an important piece of our history,” said Princeton Tourism Director, Victoria Yepsen. “I think everyone here in Princeton is passionate that the restoration will happen. At this point, we just have to remain patient until we get more answers from IDOT to begin the process.”

Wappel says that the completion of the 160 year old bridge will likely take years. The bridge was built in 1863 and is one of five covered bridges in Illinois.


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