Yes, I know people have been talking about the deficiencies in our roads and bridges for years, especially on I-80. They are bad, we get it. But the government wouldn’t let us drive on roads and bridges that are actually unsafe, right?

They wouldn’t let us risk our lives simply because they couldn’t agree on funding, right?! So, I noted the concerns in my head and went about my life.

Then came this statement from the mayor of Joliet yesterday, and my jaw hit the floor!

Mayor of Joliet Statement on I-80 Bridge

Let me give you the highlights:

Following the disclosure by IDOT that the latest inspection of the I-80 bridge spanning the Des Plaines River has serious structural weaknesses, I have instructed Joliet public safety officials to begin coordinating with the county, state and Federal FEMA officials to establish a specific plan of action in the event of a partial or complete failure of the bridge structure.

Yes, the city of Joliet is making concrete plans in case THE FREAKIN’ BRIDGE COLLAPSES!!!

Maybe that doesn’t freak you out. Maybe you say, “Hey, they are planning for worse case scenario, they aren’t actually taking action.” Well, check this out:

However, if neither IDOT nor the USDOT gives the City of Joliet a definitive plan for funding and repairing the structural deficiencies in the bridge documented by their own inspection teams in the near future, then I will be prepared to the order the following on an emergency basis:

1) Order the diversion of any vehicles seeking access to Interstate 80 entrance ramps which would lead to vehicles traveling over the bridge;

2) Post signs (4” by 8” or larger) on the Joliet streets near the entrance and exit ramps of I-80 which warn motorists of the potential danger involved in traveling over the I-80 bridge pending repairs;

3) Notify all Joliet residents by mail, text, email and Public Service Announcements on cable television and local radio of the current potential dangers and designated alternative routes of transportation designed to limit traffic congestion on main thoroughfares.

You hear that?! If the state and federal government doesn’t tell Joliet what they want to hear, they may shut down entrance ramps!!

But come, Nick. There’s no way the bridge will actually collapse. This is all fear mongering!

Well, just last week we saw iron beams snap on Lake Shore Drive. And don’t tell that to the 13 drivers who fell to their deaths in Minnesota 12 years ago.

An inspection last April called the condition of the bridge “intolerable” and gave it a score of six. OUT OF 100!!!!

IDOT did release a statement after Mayor Odekirk released his yesterday, that despite the low safety rating, the bridge is safe to travel over and there are plans to make repairs this Spring. I bet you the Minnesota DOT said the same thing about their bridge.

But, after the strong words from Mayor Odekirk, I’m not going to let lack of action from our state and federal government cost my family our lives.

Our sister station WJOL-AM 1340 has been pushing this for years, creating R.U.S.H. – or Residents United for Safer Highways. There is a petition you can sign right now to show the state leaders how you feel. Click here for that.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I’m avoiding I-80 until that safety rating is at least in the double-digits.