Fallen concrete at Union Station sparks spat over who is responsible

A day after concrete pieces fell at Union Station during rush hour, it was unclear who is responsible for maintaining the ceiling over the Metra tracks.

The concrete fell at 5 p.m. Tuesday onto Track 5, injuring a 39-year-old man. Debris littered the tracks and platform, impacting trains on the Milwaukee District Line.

RELATED: Concrete pieces fall on tracks at Union Station, impacting Metra trains and injuring a man

On Wednesday, Metra officials referred questions about the fallen concrete to Amtrak, which owns the tracks. In turn, Amtrak pointed to global real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the property manager for the building above the tracks. The building is located at 10-120 S. Riverside Plaza in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood.

"We will continue to hold them accountable for the maintenance of their building for the safety of Amtrak customers, Metra commuters and other station users, just as we have done with other air rights holders," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Wednesday in an email to ABC7. The email included JLL managers as a recipient.

JLL officials did not return multiple requests for comment.

However, building owners Ivanhoe Cambridge said in an email: "Our team is actively working with Amtrak and others to address the situation at Union Station and ensure passenger safety." The email was attributed to Sebastien Theberge of Ivanhoe Cambridge.

For commuters, service returned to normal on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the structural problems could be due to the age of the building.

Josh Dortzbach, of structural engineering firm Forefront Solutions, said that engineers are likely facing higher costs for maintenance. The firm specializes in adaptive-use construction projects, such as making old buildings new again as is the case of converting a century-old cold storage warehouse in the West Loop into Chicago's Google Headquarters.

"When steel corrodes it can expand up to ten times its original thickness. As that happens it pushes outward on the concrete that surrounds it and when that happens we call it delamination -- it is kind of like peeling skin when you get sunburned," said Dortzbach.
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