Tanker truck hauling water rams overpass

April 22, 2008 2:35:53 PM PDT
Driving on the Edens Expressway was more of a challenge than usual Tuesday morning. A truck struck and damaged an overpass at Winnetka Road on the outbound side in Northfield and for the morning rush hour only one lane of traffic was open.

Officials closed the Winnetka Road Bridge while structural engineers completed an inspection. The bridge was reopened Tuesday around 8:15 a.m.

There were no serious injuries, but Tuesday morning's accident caused some serious delays, making an already slow commute even slower.

As if the Edens reconstruction project isn't enough of a headache, more commuters Tuesday in the outbound lanes had to deal with another migraine. Just before midnight, a tanker truck hauling water hit the bridge. Three people, including the driver, suffered minor injuries. One person helped a driver out of her minivan.

"She was scared but seemed ok," said Jason Shapiro, witness.

One of the beams was knocked out of place. Structural engineers rushed to the scene. As a precaution, traffic was moved to the far left shoulder because engineers were worried concrete chunks might fall on passing cars.

Traffic was backed up all the way to the Kennedy, making hundreds of commuters late for work. A lot of motorists avoided the problems. But the side streets were a mess.

"It took me about 20 minutes to get from the school up to here, which is three blocks, because everybody is departing from the Edens and trying to take alternate routes," said Lee Cassy, motorist.

By 8:30, the other lanes reopened. Many say it is best to get out in and out of the city taking public transportation.

"Metra is the best way. If you have to drive, you can go up Skokie Road, to Cicero, and even Sheridan. I think the Edens should be avoided," said John Kelly, motorist.

One eastbound lane on Winnetka Road is still closed. The damaged bridge will have to be fixed. IDOT is still trying to come up with a game plan. They will have to close down one lane while they fix the bridge. But that is going to happen when traffic is light from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., but it could take two weeks.


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