New Bridge at Allerton Park Eases Access
By Jim Meadows
After eleven years, it’s now a lot easier to get into the University of Illinois' Allerton Park near Monticello. Local officials held a brief ceremony Monday morning to open a new bridge linking the park’s main entrance with the Allerton mansion and garden.
Matthew Smith with the park’s marketing department, says Allerton’s barn and nature trails are easily accessible from Allerton Road. But since the old bridge was closed for safety reasons in 2001, visitors have had to take a longer, alternate route to get to the Allerton mansion. He says the obstruction caused some confusion for people attending this year’s Allerton Music Barn Festival.
"After the Music Barn Festival, you really had a lot of people, even this year, saying, hey, how do you get to Allerton now?" said Smith. "And it is now easier to tell people that hey, go up maybe 100 yards and hang a left and you’re in the park --- as opposed to really directing them out and around, and it’s an additional 15 minutes to get into the park.
Smith says the new $1.6 million bridge was paid for with money from multiple sources, including state capital funds. It replaces a one-lane bridge which park founder Robert Allerton built in the early 20th century.