There are orange warning flags posted every few feet, "No truck or buses" signs and plenty of signage warning of the 8 ft. 6 in. clearing, yet people keep hitting the Long Grove covered bridge.
SARAH SCHULTE: Orange warning flags posted every few feet, No Trucks or Buses signs, and plenty of signage telling drivers that this piece of Long Grove history has an 8 foot, 6 inch clearance. Yet some just don't get it.
- It just keeps happening. We're not really sure why.
SARAH SCHULTE: What keeps happening are vehicles crashing into Long Grove's historic covered bridge. The latest was last Friday when a U-Haul got stuck. It was the 14th time the bridge was hit since it reopened last August after being closed for over two years. It took that long to repair it from a previous crash.
JOHN KOPECKY: Luckily, we have the problem solved we don't have to expend a lot of money rebuilding the bridge every time.
SARAH SCHULTE: The bridge was rebuilt with steel reinforcement, so now it's the vehicle that takes the brunt of the damage rather than the bridge. And while nearby businesses are perplexed at the number of crashes, owners admit the publicity does give them a bit of a boost.
- It's a spectacle that brings people into town.
JOHN KOPECKY: We had a great day on Sunday, you know? The day after the bridge.
SARAH SCHULTE: And the local brewery is getting some mileage out of it. Buffalo Creek Brewing has named beers after previous crashes. For the latest one, the business is holding a contest on its Facebook page. My personal favorite, Low Clearance, with an 8.6 alcohol percentage.
In the ongoing battle of vehicle versus bridge, Long Grove officials believe GPS systems looking for the shortest route may be responsible for navigating drivers through the bridge. Friday's U-Haul driver told police he was following his GPS and didn't see the signs. And while it's likely to happen again, business owners are confident their iconic landmark is here to stay.
JOHN KOPECKY: I think we're going to win this battle. [LAUGHS] I really do.
SARAH SCHULTE: In Long Grove, Sarah Schulte, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.