YORKVILLE – During a meeting last week, Kendall County Forest Preserve officials said a historic bridge is set to be demolished next year.
David Guritz, director for the Kendall County Forest Preserve District, said during the Aug. 27 forest preserve commission meeting that the historic Millbrook Bridge over the Fox River will most likely be demolished in July or August 2020.
“Because the work continues on the Millington bridge with this latest construction window, ours will get pushed back and we’ll have to make sure all of the permits are still good or if we will have to request extensions,” Guritz said.
The issue of preserving or demolishing the bridge, constructed in 1897, has been an ongoing discussion for years between the village of Millbrook and county officials. Fox Township turned the bridge over to the Kendall County Forest Preserve District in 2002, before the village was incorporated as a municipality.
Judy Gilmour, president of the forest preserve commission, said it was a cost issue for the commission to try to reconstruct or restore the bridge. She said any grant opportunity the commission could have had required several criteria to be met, including documented local support, which the commission did not have from the village.
“I think we tried everything possible, so it’s not anything we’re happy about," Gilmour said. "Unfortunately, it’s just that it looks like that’s what’s going to happen.”
Guritz said the estimated cost for the complete removal and replacement of the bridge was $1.4 million. Engineering firm HR Green also estimated the restoration and repair of the existing bridge to cost $1 million.
Commissioner Audra Hendrix said she remembered the commission tried to save part of the bridge a while back. She said the commission couldn’t even do that “because that was so prohibitively expensive,” she said.
The bridge has been closed to pedestrian traffic since 2015. It has been closed to vehicular traffic since the 1970s.