Cross At Your Own Risk

Illinois is a great state to live in if you are socialist. We put California and New York to shame when it comes to one party politics, graft, and families who make politics a business. Our last election put a democrat governor back in the statehouse and our legislature can’t increase taxes fast enough. The increases are not going to fix real problems but to fuel unmet pension obligations for public sector workers. By law the pensions are funded every year, but our politicians have seen fit to use the money elsewhere. The funds are in dire straits. My town is loaded with retired teachers and supervisors. All I can say is what I observe. These people live a whole lot better on a pension than they did working.

Meanwhile we have some very serious infrastructure problems which are going unaddressed. One in particular is the Inter-state 80 bridge over the DesPlaines river in Joliet. Here is how the Illinois politicians have addressed the problem.

https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/392512332-video

By the  time you see this sign it is too late to exit I80. To convince myself of the seriousness I tested the bridge last Saturday afternoon by driving over it. The structure seems to be sound, but the road surface is a total mess. I found my self in the center lane of the three lane road. I could not change lanes because I was in a sea of trucks in front, back, and on the side. I slowed down to make myself feel like that was the correct thing to do. At the very center of the crossing the road surface dips a full four inches over a twelve foot span. On land this would not concern me, but while crossing a river a hundred feet in the air it scared the crap out of me. On land when a road dips it is because the roadbed has compacted but on a bridge there is no dirt below the road surface, only air. This is a terrible accident waiting to happen at any moment.

Why is IDOT waiting to repair the problem? Good question with many answers none of which will hold water after the section of road decides to take a swim. On my return trip I exited the interstate one mile before the bridge and took the city streets. I’m lucky I know the area well enough to be able to do that. What if you are a vacationer from another state passing through. You will ignore the sign even if you do see it, and proceed.

Anyway, when the event finally happens Illinois will be on the map right up there with California and New York. The world will see the news broadcasts of our finest politicians passing the buck and blaming the republicans. Oh wait, they can’t do that there are no republicans.

Why is this bridge crumbling? It is a long story. Once upon a time there was a Congressman from Frankfort whose name was George Sangemeister. There was also a giant parcel of US Government land know as the Joliet Arsenal. George wanted to leave a legacy so he legislated that the land should go back to the people. The arsenal was no longer being used to make bullets, bombs, and torpedos, and is made good sense. George’s plan split the land into three parcels. The first parcel created the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for veterans. The second parcel created Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie. The final parcel was designated for business. I’m sure George made some side money on that one. The business that settled there is a giant terminal for transporting goods coming from China. This is the culprit. There are thousands of trucks coming into and out of the terminal. Container trains come in from the east and the west they get unloaded and then trucked to our local Dollar General stores with all the crap the Chinese send us. We get cheap goods to fill our garages and basements with and the states get a bill to rebuild highways, and ¬†bridges. Now how cheap is that? What we don’t pay for in goods we wind up paying for infrastructure.

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