CHICAGO (CBS) — Large chunks of concrete again fell from the roof of a pedestrian tunnel under DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, this was the second time the safety of a tunnel where people walk under the Drive has been questioned. This time, the tunnel in question is between Addison Street and Waveland Avenue, at the east end of Lakeview.
The tunnel remained open Monday evening. But a piece of concrete on the ceiling was missing, while a rebar grid was exposed.
The Addison Street Pedestrian Tunnel is a frequent route for Gianna and her friends.
“We saw it on the pitch yesterday, actually, and we were actually a bit worried about it,” Gianna said.
What she saw were huge chunks of concrete – heavy chunks that fell from above. Orange cones were installed around the fallen pieces.
And 24 hours later, even more concrete had fallen. Much of the ceiling was missing and this steel wire was visible.
Terri: “You wonder what they’re doing, or what?
Gianna: “I just guess they don’t do much about it.”
And others who use the tunnel are wondering the same thing.
“It doesn’t look good,” one man said.
In January, another pedestrian tunnel about six blocks north of Buena Avenue raised similar concerns after pieces of concrete fell. The Chicago Department of Transportation initially declared the tunnel safe, but three weeks after our report, the city came back and closed the Buena Avenue tunnel.
Yet people continue to walk under the Addison Street Tunnel, leaving many wondering what the difference is.
“I’m not sure,” Gianna said. “I guess it’s pretty much the same situation, so it probably shouldn’t be open.”
“The problem is, there are so many old bridges, aren’t there? said Didem Ozevin, a civil and materials engineer at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “So they have to prioritize.”
Yes, Ozevin says the city is required to inspect these tunnels every two years.
“Some more common depending on age,” she said.
It is unclear when the Addison Street Tunnel under DuSable Lake Shore Drive was last inspected. But Ozevin said the rusted steel can’t stay exposed to the elements for long or bigger problems will result.
In the short term, Ozevin thinks the Addison Street Tunnel is safe – but with one caveat.
“As a pedestrian passing under this bridge, I will probably go to the side to pass,” she said.
But it is difficult to walk sideways in the tunnel, because the exposed wires are so massive all over the ceiling surface.
No one was hurt when the pieces of concrete fell.
CBS 2’s Terry reached out to CDOT to find out what the next step with the tunnel might be. They did not answer us Monday evening.