City: Lake Shore Drive underpass at North Ave safe for traffic after concrete falls

September 5, 2013 2:14:55 PM PDT
The City of Chicago says a Lake Shore Drive Bridge near North Avenue is safe now that workers have scraped loose concrete from the structure.

Debris fell from the underpass at Lake Shore Drive and North Avenue at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The area was closed for several hours, reopening around 9 p.m. Traffic is once again flowing, but some walkers are re-thinking whether or not they want to use the bridge.

"It's not worth the risk. Why would I go under a bridge that's crumbling?" Debbie Nierenberg, pedestrian, said.

The underpass allows access to Chicago's Lake Shore Drive near North Avenue.

"It's got a crumbling concrete structure which obviously needs to be checked into and they need to check the steel and the underpinnings are," Nierenberg said.

No one was injured when the three-feet by 10-feet, 2-inch thick piece fell, but there are now concerns about the bridge, built in 1930. Repair work was done 5 years ago.

The Chicago Department of Transportation says bridges are inspected every two years and at the last inspection, this bridge was determined to be in fair condition.

"They need to fix it, scrap it, rebuild it, something," Albao Martinez, driver, said. On Wednesday, CDOT didn't return calls from ABC7, but did send an email no work was planned on the bridge Wednesday. Officials also didn't provide the last specific inspection date of the bridge.

Other people we talked to aren't as worried.

"I'm not going to avoid it. I'm sure it's fine and I am sure inspectors are coming and they will get it fixed," Ryan Rensing, biker , said.

CDOT says because they scraped all of the loose concrete off that the area is now safe. They will come back at a later date to re-inspect the bridge and determine what to do moving forward.


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