CHICAGO (CBS) — A busy stretch of Michigan Avenue in the South Loop was blocked Monday when some metal came crashing down from a railroad overpass.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, it was another report of chunks falling from questionable structures.
Thousands of drivers pass under the railroad bridge over Michigan Avenue at 16th Street daily. People are able to walk underneath too. When a huge piece of metal fell from the bridge Monday morning, it didn’t injure anyone.
But there was concern that it would happen again. It is a growing concern at the site steps away from Old St. Mary’s School, especially for parent Chely Frantzen.
“The piece that fell, fell from right here,” Frantzen said as she pointed to a support column.
The huge metal piece from a support beam crashed from right above the roadway on Michigan Avenue roadway.
“Cars had to swerve around it,” Frantzen said. “It was about five feet long. It looked like a white piece of metal.”
In an image that Frantzen snapped, crews were seen hauling the fallen beam away. But the rust and possible decay is visible when standing underneath the train overpass.
“If you look up, you can see a giant hole of rusted metal,” Frantzen said.
The bridge is maintained by Canadian National Railway. And even with such conditions, trains continue to pass above.
“The bridge is in very bad condition,” Frantzen said. “It just recently had some work done.”
According to the website of Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), the CN Railway closed portions of Michigan Avenue to remove a section of the track back in September.
Afterward, the company left behind chains and clamps to support the overpass.
“They didn’t restore or fix anything,” Frantzen said.
Luckily, no one was injured on Monday. But Frantzen fears the worst.
“Just somebody getting hurt if metal falls, or hopefully we don’t have a collapse,” she said.
Back in May, a bridge did collapse under the train tracks at 87th Street and South Chicago Avenue.
Norfolk Southern, which owns that bridge, made inspections when huge pieces of concrete and metal fell. There were no injuries in that case.
Frantzen questions if we will continue to be so fortunate.
“Come and fix this bridge before somebody gets hurt,” she said.
CBS 2’s Terry did send emails to CN Railway regarding the metal falling. The company did not get back to us.