CHICAGO (CBS) — As construction projects go, so does graffiti – even in the riskiest places to tag.
CBS 2’s Jermont Terry on Thursday night had a look at the growing problem of graffiti right at the busy Jane Byrne Interchange.
You can’t miss it if you’re walking on bridges over the interchange. If you look down, it’s clear in both the day and night that graffiti is taking over the project.
How is any of this possible?
The Jane Byrne Interchange – named for Chicago’s first woman mayor – is the gateway connecting the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Dan Ryan expressways into downtown. The multimillion-dollar renovation of the interchange definitely remains a construction nightmare.
“We look over the highway, and it’s all night long and all day long for as long as we’ve lived there,” said Lyndsey Thorne.
But video from Thorne and her partner’s view high above shows there’s something other than traffic catching their eye.
The gritty, in-your-face graffiti is visible for anybody driving throughout the interchange.
“I’ve seen graffiti, but you know, it’s Chicago, so I just figured that that was just normal, to be completely honest,” said Bryant Martin III.
Over the past few months, the tagging, well, it’s extreme. As soon as crews build a new wall, it’s defaced. And all of this is going on in the middle of a construction zone.
“I am curious, actually, how it keeps happening, because there is construction all night long,” Thorne said.
It is clear that there is easy access in the construction zone to get to the expressway, and the Illinois Department of Transportation said nightly, people are jumping barriers with spray cans and taking the risk.
The state said its crews have tried removing some of the graffiti, but there are sections to dangerous for even them to get to because it is in a construction zone.
“I’ve always wondered, how the heck did they get up there?” Martin said.
IDOT said it will remove inflammatory and racially offensive words as quickly as possible. But it added until the entire project is finished, they will keep blasting it away.
So this will remain the new welcome to Chicago, because the Byrne won’t be finished for another several years.
IDOT said the Illinois State Police are aware of the ongoing graffiti problems – but catching the taggers is a different story.
IDOT said they last removed the graffiti right around Labor Day. But two months later, it was everywhere again.
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