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Abandoned, dilapidated C’ville bridge still an orphan

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 28, 2013 6:48AM

CARPENTERSVILLE — Whose abandoned railroad bridge is it anyway? According to the Kane County Forest Preserve’s Geographical Information Systems online maps, which shows ownership of all properties in the county, the bridge along the walking trail in downtown Carpentersville has no owner.

“There’s Otto Engineering on one side of the bridge and the Knight Corporation on the west side as owners of the property. As to who owns the bridge, I don’t know,” said Mike Holan, director of operations for the forest preserve. “That island there doesn’t show any ownership at all.”

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.

Initially, Carpentersville officials said they were told by Union Pacific the bridge is owned by Otto Engineering. But Tom Roeser, president of OTTO Engineering, said years ago he called Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, later the Union Pacific, about the bridge. Roeser said he was told by Union Pacific he could remove the bridge but send the railroad company the money from the scrap iron.

Mark Davis of the Union Pacific Railroad said the company’s records show the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad sold the majority of the abandoned right of way and bridge to the Kane County Forest Preserve District in 1980.

But, Holan said: “We don’t show any ownership on it. We own property west of there but we do not own up to the river at that point.”

The bridge began crumbling into the Fox River several months ago, after years of deterioration. Joe Wade, assistant village manager for Carpentersville, estimates the bridge could date to the turn of the century.

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