A part of Lake Shore Drive heading north will remain closed for most of Tuesday after workers uncovered a cracked steel beam that holds the road, officials said Monday.
The northbound trip from Monroe Street to Grand Avenue was expected to close at least until Tuesday afternoon, city officials said. The northbound stretch of the Lake Shore Drive bridge generally handles around 60,000 vehicles per day.
Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said the crews will work overnight on a temporary solution to the problem and expect the route to be reopened in time for Tuesday night's rush hour.
"We will not reopen this bridge to traffic until we are sure it is safe to do so," Scheinfeld said at a press conference on Monday night.
The unit closed north on Randolph starting at 11:15 a.m. "while the bridge is being inspected," Chicago police said in a media briefing. A "structural damage incident" closed all lanes and lanes north from Monroe Drive to Grand Avenue, according to a notice from the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications published through travelmidwest.com.
"The teams are working to install a shoring tower as quickly as possible under the structure of the viaduct that leads north to Lake Shore Drive," the city's Department of Transportation said in a press release. "The road will be closed until Monday's race (in the afternoon) and possibly more."
Cars can reach the unit northbound "from Lower Wacker Drive and the Grand Avenue entrance ramp," but the ramp from Randolph Street to Lake Shore was closed, according to the CDOT.
According to the CDOT, the cars "deviated from Lake Shore Drive northbound in Randolph and Monroe, westbound to Columbus, northbound to Lower Wacker Drive, and back" toward the northbound unit.
Traffic to the south was moving normally, according to the police.
The damaged section is located south of the two-story steel bridge over the Chicago River, which was built in 1937. It is one of the most structurally deficient bridges in the state, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders. Asociación, a commercial group based in Washington that uses figures from the Federal Highway Administration. The association said the bridge is "functionally obsolete."
The term "structural deficiency" means that a bridge needs repair or reconstruction, according to the association. The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning repairs to this bridge along with the Navy Pier Flyover bike path construction project this year.
CDOT spokesman Michael Claffey could not say whether the damaged beam was the same age as the bridge of the Depression era. PD Sriraj, director of the urban transport center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said it is possible that the two elements were built at the same time.
Sriraj said the incident shows the need to invest in infrastructure in the state and in the nation.
"What you need to keep in mind is that Illinois has the third largest number of bridges, and a significant amount is structurally deficient, 16 percent," Sriraj said.
Sriraj also said that Illinois has only dedicated $ 2.6 billion to improve the improvement in six years, when the need is $ 10 billion. The national need is $ 2 billion, he said.
"That gives you an idea of how unfortunately short we are in financing," Sriraj said.
Sriraj said the problem is probably related to the age of the bridge.
"All these bridges were built with cutting-edge technology," said Sriraj. "They have not been given the corresponding quotas in terms of frequent maintenance, if you neglect an asset of this magnitude for an extended period of time, you are really asking for problems, especially if you consider that the number of vehicle miles has increased."