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VIDEO: Cracked Beams on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive Bridge Cause Delays

February 12, 2019
Chicago skyline with Lake Shore Drive visible.

Chicago’s northbound Lake Shore Drive is expected to stay closed until Tuesday evening after two steel beams that support the highway cracked, according to authorities. The Chicago Tribune reports that the damage was caused by the extreme cold seen in late January.

Rebekah Scheinfeld, commissioner of CDOT, told the Chicago Tribune she hopes the drive will be open in time for Tuesday’s rush hour.

“What we’re seeing is an unexpected amount of corrosion that we believe was exacerbated by the extreme cold temperatures,” Scheinfeld told the Tribune. She said the city will work “around the clock” to erect steel support towers so it can safely reopen the bridge while making permanent repairs.

According to the Scheinfeld, seven steel girders run north and south along the roadway underneath the viaduct structure near expansion joints. Two of the seven girders have cracks. 

After crews worked on the repairs most of the day Monday, the Wacker Drive ramp to southbound Lake Shore had reopened overnight, according to Michael Claffey, a city spokesperson.

The cracks were first noticed by a crew making traffic signal repairs around 10 a.m. on Monday. Shortly after, an engineering crew made the final call to shut down the road.

The northbound stretch of Lake Shore Drive handles nearly 60,000 vehicles a day. The drive has been closed since 11:15 a.m. on Monday, causing major delays during rush hour.

Source: The Chicago Tribune & CBS Chicago