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*** UPDATED x2 *** We need a capital bill

Monday, Feb 11, 2019

* Sheesh…


* CBS 2

City crews fixing a nearby light pole spotted the cracked beams Monday morning, and reported the problem.

Shortly before noon, the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said all northbound lanes on Lake Shore Drive were closed between Monroe to Grand as a result, and advised drivers to use an alternate route.

The Chicago Department of Transportation said crews were “assessing the situation” on the bridge, and would issue an advisory once they determine how long it would take to make repairs.

Thank goodness it was caught in time.

…Adding… Northbound Lake Shore Drive will be closed in that area at least through tonight, the Sun-Times reports.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Another one today…



…Adding… A longtime reader/commenter sent this pic of Union Station today. Platform between tracks 2 and 4…

…Adding… Local 150…

This afternoon’s failure and emergency closure of a northbound Lake Shore Drive bridge was dangerous, inconvenient, costly, and – most tragically – it was completely avoidable.

Bridge failures are only one of the inevitable results when our critical infrastructure is neglected and left in disrepair. The decay of the Lake Shore Drive bridges is among the most advanced in the City of Chicago, but this is far from the only bridge that is teetering on the brink of failure.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 2,300 Illinois bridges are “structurally deficient,” yet Illinois has been without a statewide infrastructure funding bill since 2009. ASCE gave an overall grade of C- to Illinois’ infrastructure, including road, rail, utility and other vital infrastructure

“When the state fails to invest in our infrastructure, we are neglecting a problem until it becomes a crisis,” said James M. Sweeney, President-Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. “This neglect can have deadly consequences, as we saw in the Minneapolis I-35 Bridge collapse, which killed 13 innocent motorists. How many must die in Illinois before our leaders treat this as the crisis that it is?”

“This is far from an isolated problem,” Sweeney continued. “The next time you drive under a bridge, look up and ask yourself how safe you feel.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Reopened…



- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Imagine that conversation.

    Hey, Bob lets get this light taken care of.
    Wait a second does that beam on LSD look strange to you.
    It’s just some rust dude, no big dea….
    Oh S*&^!, who do we even call?
    I don’t know but we got to call someone.


  2. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    If you look close, you can see a several inches crack on the top of the third beam in. Really lucky they caught it


  3. - Because I said so.... - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    I wonder how many other bridges are that bad. Driving off a bridge is one of my biggest fears!


  4. - Not It - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    It’s worth noting that Lake Shore Drive is a state highway.


  5. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    Yikes ! Great catch by the city worker(s) that reported this.Look behind that first fractured beam to the next cross beam, it is broken as well. This could have been a really bad situation. Anyone remember the beams in the Chicago tunnel system that led to the 1992 tunnel flood?


  6. - foster brooks - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    good thing they dont allow trucks on lsd


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    –NotifyChicago: All Northbound lanes on Lake Shore Dr are closed from Monroe to Grand due to a CDOT Structural Emergency on the Bridge. Seek alternate route.–

    That will get some attention. It ain’t a bridge over the Kankakee at Aroma Park.


  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    ===Driving off a bridge is one of my biggest fears===

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWRH4P1HDcA


  9. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    Only tip of the iceberg
    As to tunnel flood I think that was do to boring in river and they bored through roof of tunnel causing flooding. Not caused by structural defects of tunnels


  10. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    I drive that all the time. This is some scary stuff.


  11. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    Going to screw up traffic for a while, don’t think you can just put a gusset plate over that.


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    So sad, another example of how terrible Illinois State government is.


  13. - Cadillac - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    The last person(s) to sign off on the inspection reports are gonna have some splainin’ to do.


  14. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    ===Driving off a bridge is one of my biggest fears===

    In the summer of 2007, when that bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, my family and I were on an East Coast Griswold Family Vacation.

    The next day, the USA Today printed a list of the 25 or so worst-rated bridges still in operation. We must have crossed about half of them on the trip.

    That long one across Chesapeake Bay on the way from DC to Rehoboth Beach, and sitting bumper-to-bumper on the George Washington bridge going into NYC, with the semis on the deck above you — that was tense, under the circumstances.


  15. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Bardstown Bridge is very scary. It is planned to be replaced. Not soon enough.


  16. - curtis - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    Walking around downtown, you see some of these bridges and it’s shocking how they’re still allowed to carry cars/trains.

    It’s only a matter of time before people are killed by the lack of investment. It’s on the state and federal level.


  17. - City Zen - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    That section of the Eisenhower in Oak Park (and the whole bottleneck section in general) is way beyond its useful life. The whole corridor is supposed to be rebuilt, including the CTA line.


  18. - Colossus of roads - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Without having more information, either the bridge inspector has some explaining to do or the city has some explaining to do.


  19. - notsosure - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    And the capital bill should all be for stuff like this. No sexy new bridges to nowhere; just the basic meat and potatoes we’ve been ignoring for-freaking-ever. (unrealistic, I realize)


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Governing includes the safety and welfare of the people.

    How this is not that…

    The point is… spending monies to provide safe roads should supersede this phony thought “you vote to raise revenues, you lose”

    We need this. Need.

    Figure out a bonding or another way. Plus… because jobs.


  21. - Steve Rogers - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    I didn’t want to make light of this, but I thought of the Nazi Pinto in the Blues Brothers. Rich beat me to it. I can’t get Ride of the Valkyries out of my head now.


  22. - Jvslp - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    This deserves an “Our Sorry State” heading. Been a while since we had one.


  23. - What's in a name? - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    The reference to the 1992 flood is relevant but not because of a lack of maintenance. The 1992 flood was caused by a piling being driven (pounded) through the tunnel. That part was the contractors fault. A city tunnel inspector discovered the piling going through the tunnel, photographed it and submitted to somebody who didn’t take action. Here the light guys had the presence of mind to see the issue and then got the right person to take action. In this instance a hand full of people saved lives. (No doubt it would have been better if the bridge was property maintained.)


  24. - Because I said so.... - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    This still freaks me out!
    https://www.heraldtribune.com/photogallery/lk/20180509/news/509009994/PH/1


  25. - Linus - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    I am a frequent CTA and Metra user, and I can tell you: There are a multitude of similar situations that demand attention, throughout those systems. I’ve recently noticed the Blue Line to O’Hare seems to be falling apart, anew. They’re back to those maddening “slow zones” for some stretches, by looks of it.


  26. - 35/Shields - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    We could use an IDOT secretary too…


  27. - Big Jer - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    Not just statewide but as a country we are way past go time on dealing with infrastructure issues. Keep dragging our feet and we will have what happened during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake without the earthquake:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Cypress_structure.jpeg/260px-Cypress_structure.jpeg


  28. - Gooner - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Not to digress, but a cool thing about the Blues Brothers video Rich posted is that you see much of the old south Streeterville. The car is falling to McClurg and Grand (although the final shot of the impact is somewhere else). It is interesting how many of those buildings are now gone.


  29. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    I would love to see an assessment, a true assessment, of what it would take to fix all of the infrastructure like this in the state.


  30. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    I sometimes think we would get more infrastructure maintained if we put up brass signs with politician names for maintenance, not just when we build or rebuild or expand.


  31. - ChrisB - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    Another section of Union Station is falling apart? You don’t say.

    Not like this didn’t happen three weeks ago on the north platforms, or send anyone to the ER two years ago when it was first reported that the concrete was falling on people’s heads. Amtrak won’t fix their station and Metra has no money to even get the trains to run on time. At this rate, it’s going to take a either one of the Riverside Plaza buildings to collapse to get that dump fixed. But hey guys, check out our new luxury lounge. There’s a throwback barbershop to hearken back to a time when this station wasn’t falling apart.

    Union Station - Use at your own risk.


  32. - Roadrager - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    The Blue Line is already undergoing a massive rehab to repair stations, upgrade electrical infrastructure, and increase capacity. This makes Musk’s magical O’Hare tunnel even more of a folly, by the way.

    Rauner’s big infrastructure idea was “solicit bids on converting one lane of the expressway into a privately-operated toll road.” When that didn’t work, his proposal became “Hey, howsabout two lanes?” Hopefully, Pritzker has something better and more immediate in mind. Lake Shore Drive is a harbinger, not an outlier.


  33. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    “I would love to see an assessment, a true assessment, of what it would take to fix all of the infrastructure like this in the state”

    Responsive local governments have detailed capital replacement budgets that look out 20-30 years - they anticipate and plan for the expenses of each and every stretch of road or bridge that they pave. Not so much for our state,.


  34. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    ChrisB,

    I have told my wife that if I get killed on my commute it is going to be by Union Station (literally the station) and she should sue everyone for maximum effect.


  35. - A guy - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    We do need a Capital Bill. Our whole state is shovel ready.


  36. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    == I would love to see an assessment, a true assessment, of what it would take to fix all of the infrastructure like this in the state. ==

    If you replaced (not patched) everything that was needed, I would guesstimate probably more than fixing the State pensions.

    Here is a bit dated discussion on cost per mile:

    https://tinyurl.com/y76q5hdd

    Now here’s a really scary thought. I read somewhere last week (don’t remember so I can’t give the citation) that Illinois had the 5th best (yes, they said best) roads in the country. I pretty much blew it off as inaccurate. But if that is true, the nation is in real trouble.


  37. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    But try to increase the fuel tax to pay for repairs and the howls from the usual suspects ensue.

    These are the kind of bridges we can afford, but they certainly aren’t the kind of bridges we need.


  38. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Thank you for the responses. Maybe governments should have to post a sign on bridges “Last maintenance and update on 1/1/1970″. Alert motorists so we know the last time bridges have been updated.


  39. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    The days of “whistling past the graveyard” regarding infrastructure repairs will soon be replaced with days of visits to the graveyard.


  40. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Just did a back of the envelope calculation. To build new interstate and state highway roads equal to the miles IDOT reports would be about $37B, not counting replacing almost 8,000 bridges that I can’t begin to estimate.

    So yeah, it probably is as big or bigger than the pension debt.

    IDOT summary of interstate and state road mile’s and bridges.


  41. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Forgot to add this link to IDOT

    https://tinyurl.com/yxo44g6b


  42. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Recent ideas to create a fossil fuel free nation by 2030 is really going to demand a new method for funding roads and bridges.


  43. - a drop in - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    –Maybe governments should have to post a sign on bridges “Last maintenance and update on….”

    I suggest the notices in elevators: “Last inspected on…”


  44. - Gruntled University Employee - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to the IDOT interactive bridge map. Zoom in, click on the blue dot where the bridge is and you can view it’s report.

    http://idot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=81d6699e4a83440db9f669f26bb56afc&query=Counties_3479,COUNTY_NAM,COOK


  45. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    What IDOT needs is a sustainable means of funding. While a capital bill gets the gee whiz ribbon cutting glory, the thousands of miles of roads that must be maintained by the State and local agencies are ignored.

    The MFT must be increased and then indexed to inflation. A means of taxing high mileage vehicle must be enacted.

    The bridge failure is only a symptom of the problem. Being on Lake Shore Drive will get everyone’s attention, but what about the small rural 2 lane bridges in similar condition?

    LSD may be a state marked route under IDOT jurisdiction, but the city has an agreement to maintain the road and bridge.

    Most bridges in Illinois are under a 2 year inspection cycle. A failure such as we see in this post may have developed since the last inspection. Bridge details such as we see likely have specialized inspection procedures.

    IDOT bridge inspectors are some of the best in the business. They are required to have qc/qa inspectors observing their work and ratings. They undergo specialized training for fracture critical bridge inspections.


  46. - Border Bound - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    State, county, and municipal governments in Illinois have long been giving the short end to the “must have” things like infrastructure in favor of spending all their revenue (and then some) on “nice to have” projects and pet social programs that are little more than payback to supporters. Good luck to anyone with the political will to recommend cuts to those now-sacred cows. Instead, the cost of infrastructure maintenance will have to be added on top of the current outflow. The bean counters better sharpen their pencils and figure out how much more new revenue is needed beyond what has already been estimated for issues like pension funding and bill backlog.


  47. - Gruntled University Employee - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Unless you’re a structural engineer I suggest viewing the Simple Report


  48. - Skeptic - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    I’ve been saying to myself and anyone who would listen (which of course is nobody) that instead of building bigger roads further out so people can sprawl their urbans even further yet not spend all day commuting, we should be spending the money fixing the problems we already have. I can hear the Collars howling just thinking about that.


  49. - Perrid - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:42 pm:

    RNUG, this is from last week and has us as 28th overall, but 5th in “Urban Interstate Pavement Condition”

    https://reason.org/policy-study/23rd-annual-highway-report/illinois/


  50. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    Also you can check Onto 2050 from cmap.That is the long range plan for Metro Chicago. Summary any big new project will be by tollway.


  51. - Proud Sucker - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Ask for a report card an you shall receive:
    https://tinyurl.com/y4peuqty

    LSD is a Federal route (US-41) which, ordinarily, would be maintained by IDOT. However, as noted above, CDOT maintains it. Still, for substantial construction projects, especially bridge work, CDOT with IDOT utilize Fed money (currently STP).

    The engineer-types ASCE, ISPE and APWA will make our annual pilgrimage to Springfield this April and lobby for a Capital bill. This year we are…hopeful.


  52. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    Warning. Be careful of the hypocrites. Many of the same folks who clamor,”union,union,union” and don’t ever buy union built or serviced goods, will be the same ones rallying for an increase in state gas taxes but drive across state lines to save 30 cents a gallon. BTW. Ya’ll know who you are.


  53. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    “drive across state lines to save 30 cents a gallon.”

    There are those who will spend a buck to save a dime. Have this discussion with my beloved SO all the time.


  54. - foster brooks - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    idot d-1 bridge unit is doing the repairs now, d-2 had a consultant do bridge inspections


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Sherri Garrett responds to Hickey report
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* *** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot wants state approval for city tax hikes
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