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Transportation Tue Mar 22 2011

Report: Some Illinois Bridges "Deteriorating"

An industrial bridge over the Calumet-Sag Channel

Chicago transportation advocates will gather Tuesday morning at the southeast corner of North Western Avenue and West Melrose Street, at the site of a 50-year-old overpass, to discuss bridge maintenance in Illinois.

According to a report from Transportation for America, a D.C.-based coalition lobbying for transportation reform, some bridges in Illinois may not be as structurally sound as they should be. The coalition notes that "one out of every 12 bridges in Illinois is likely to be deteriorating to some degree, and 8.5 percent of bridges statewide are rated 'structurally deficient' according to government standards."

Wabash County, in southeastern Illinois near the Indiana border, ranked number one in having the most structurally deficient bridges at 21.7 percent. In comparison, 9.9 percent of bridges in Cook County were rated structurally deficient.

You can read more state facts about Illinois' transportation infrastructure here.

Given Transportation for America's analysis of Illinois' bridges, it seems like not much has changed in two years. In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Illinois' bridges a C+ for bridges in its state report card, finding that 17 percent of bridges in Illinois were "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete."

The report noted:

While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising. More funding is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions.


Advocates will gather at 10 a.m. to discuss the report and the immediate need of additional transportation funding.

Attendees will include: Peter Skosey, vice-president of the Metropolitan Planning Council; Brian Imus, state director of Illinois PIRG; Kevin Brubaker, deputy director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center; and Gideon Bluestein, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Infrastructure Council.

UPDATE: The report is online. You can download the PDF here.

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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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