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One more bridge to cross: Find out who owns dilapidated span

Nobody wants claim ownership for this dilapidated century-old railroad bridge near downtown Carpentersville. A portibridge recently fell inFox River. |

Nobody wants to claim ownership for this dilapidated, century-old railroad bridge near downtown Carpentersville. A portion of the bridge recently fell into the Fox River. | Submitted photo by Erin Sauder

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Updated: February 8, 2013 6:08AM

CARPENTERSVILLE — When it comes to the abandoned, century-old railroad bridge along the walking trail in downtown Carpentersville, many agree its dilapidated state is a hazard.

But what they can’t agree on is who is responsible for the much-needed repairs.

Village officials said they were told by the Union Pacific Railroad that the bridge is owned by nearby OTTO Engineering.

“It’s not a village bridge,” said Assistant Village Manager Joe Wade.

Wade noted that a portion of the bridge recently crumbled into the Fox River, after years of deterioration. He estimates the bridge could date to the turn of the century.

“The spur served whoever was the property owner there — that’s my understanding of it,” Wade said. “I don’t even know when it was abandoned.”

Tom Roeser, president of OTTO Engineering, said years ago he called the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad — later the Union Pacific — about the bridge.

“They said, ‘You can remove the bridge but send us the money from the scrap iron.’ So I then just left it, and it’s finally fallen in,” he said. “No one wants to own it because it fell into the river.”

The website describes the structure as an “abandoned lattice through truss bridge” with a total length of 600 feet.

It connects the east shore with an island in the Fox River and has been frequently used by pedestrians over the years.

Bridgehunter describes itself as a source for information about “historic and notable bridges of the U.S.” A contributor to the site notes, “A 1928 map shows this (the Carpentersville bridge) to be a spur crossing the Fox River and ending up north of the dam.”

Mark Davis of the Union Pacific Railroad said he could not find anything in the company’s archives regarding the structure.

However, he added that the company “is reviewing the bridge ownership.”

Meanwhile, a wooden barricade with “No Trespassing” signs has been placed there warning people that the bridge is closed.

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