Alderman wants to inspect overpass
A Park Ridge alderman would like to see the city take steps to address the condition of the Touhy Avenue railroad overpass. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:14PM
PARK RIDGE — Crumbling and cracked concrete on a railroad overpass has an alderman calling for Park Ridge to have its own assessment of the structure performed.
First Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney told the City Council and city staff that he doesn’t entirely believe Union Pacific’s assertion that the overpass across Touhy Avenue at Busse Highway is structurally sound.
“I would believe them like I’d believe it’s going to snow tomorrow,” Sweeney said Sept. 10. “I think we should check it out and not leave it up to Union Pacific. They are not doing their job as far as I’m concerned.”
Sweeney, stating that the overpass is “looking pretty poor,” pointed to beams of wood installed above the street in 2009 after pieces of concrete fell onto vehicles below.
Public Works Director Wayne Zingsheim reported that while Union Pacific has acknowledged the overpass is not pleasing aesthetically, the railroad maintains it is structurally sound.
Zingsheim said he attempted this month to invite representatives from Union Pacific to address the City Council about the condition of the bridge, but had not received a response.
A call from the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate to Union Pacific’s Director of Public Affairs Wesley Lujan was not immediately returned.
Zingsheim said the city does not receive a copy of inspection reports from Union Pacific. His department will contact the railroad if a complaint is made with the city or debris has fallen from the overpass.
“If we ever see debris laying around we’ll look at it and I’ll let the railroad know,” Zingsheim said in July following the fatal train derailment and collapse of a Union Pacific bridge at the border of Glenview and Northbrook.
There had not been any recent incidents of fallen debris from the Touhy overpass, he added.
“It’s a Union Pacific railroad, it’s the Metra tracks and it’s over an (Illinois Department of Transportation) roadway, so we’re not too much involved,” Zingsheim said. He also expressed concerns about liability shifting to the city if Park Ridge were to do anything to the structure.
Fourth Ward Alderman Sal Raspanti said he would like a Union Pacific representative to talk to the City Council and, perhaps, provide some reassurances.
“If you really take time out to walk underneath there and look at the concrete, it’s concerning,” Raspanti said.