Park Ridge woman victim of crumbling bridge infrastructure - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Park Ridge woman victim of crumbling bridge infrastructure

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Jennifer Anton Jennifer Anton
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Jennifer Anton of Park Ridge was taking her 15-year-old daughter to driver's ed Monday night. As they drove eastbound on Touhy beneath the Union Pacific Metra Line tracks, a train rumbled overhead and they suddenly heard a loud crack.

"It was scary. We didn't know if it was a gunshot that hit our window," said Anton.

A falling chunk of concrete had smashed the top of her car's windshield. A spider web of cracks radiated out from the site of the impact.

"We were scared and we were shocked. We didn't know what just happened. When we got into the light we could see that the windshield was cracked," said Anton.

It doesn't take a structural engineer to figure out what happened. An old bronze plaque nearby says that the bridge above Touhy Avenue was built in 1941.

"[It] coulda' been worse. If it had hit down more by the middle of the windshield, it could have shattered the whole windshield…[my daughter] was sitting in the passenger seat," said Anton.

FOX 32 News' Dane Placko took a look up top on the bridge. Concrete along the edge is crumbling away, so bad, in fact, that there's holes where you can see right through down to the street below.

"We've had several instances occur where pieces of concrete or debris have fallen on cars going underneath that viaduct," said Park Ridge Public Works Director Wayne Zingsheim.

Zingsheim said that he has written letters and called the Union Pacific about the problem.

The railroad has placed sheets of plywood under the eastern edge of the bridge to prevent debris from falling. However, there's still no plywood under the gaping hole.

"They looked at the structure itself and pretty much their quote was 'aesthetically it's not pleasing, but it is structurally sound," said Zingsheim.

Anton is using Facebook to warn her friends about the viaduct. Also, despite being camera shy, she wants to help protect anyone else from possibly being seriously injured.

"I would rather be on TV and do this…as painful as it is, than somebody get really hurt, because it's a matter of time till' something happens," Anton said.

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