ChicagoTransportation & Infrastructure

18-Wheeler GPS Folly Leaves Historic Princeton Bridge in Peril

18-Wheeler GPS Folly Leaves Historic Princeton Bridge in PerilSource: Facebook / Bureau County Historical Society and History Center
Jo Marquez
Published on November 28, 2023

In an incident last week, an 18-wheeler juggernaut decimated a 160-year-old covered bridge in Princeton, Illinois, with its driver allegedly missing her turn and following GPS directions straight through the antiquated structure, according to Inside Edition Digital. The semi plowed into the Red Covered Bridge, revered by the locals and a staple of the city’s marketing materials, ripping off its trailer roof and leaving the bridge in ruins.

The driver of the truck, with the experience of 11 years on the road behind her, was fired from Vernon Hills-based Wynn Logistics for her "reckless behavior," the company moving swiftly to announce they would inform potential future employers of her blunder. In posts scattered across social media, the locals expressed their heartbreak, beholding the wreckage of the beloved Red Covered Bridge, the embodiment of town heritage and history, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Despite the bridge's ghastly fate, Wynn Logistics was quick to pledge their commitment to the historical site's restoration. "the company would work with its insurance provider “to facilitate the restoration of the bridge to its original state.," the company stated. With the solemn promise of revival, residents of Bureau County and history enthusiasts elsewhere are eager to see if the Red Covered Bridge will indeed rise from its splinters.

The bridge, as told by the Chicago Tribune, has been an integral part of Princeton's identity for generations. Throughout its 160-year reign over Big Bureau Creek, the cedar-clad structure enchanted legions of families, witnessed countless youthful summers, and became the silent observer of myriad life milestones captured in photographs. Peter Nelson, 68, Princeton’s city clerk and the town’s planning and zoning administrator, lamented the damage, recalling jubilant drives across the bridge during childhood outings.

ChicagoTransportation & Infrastructure