Why I'm Embarrased Of Illinois Roads & Infrastructure

Why I'm Embarrased Of Illinois Roads & Infrastructure

The roads in the state of Illinois are terrible, this is not news. But I’m not just talking about snow removal; I mean pot holes, maintenance, the whole infrastructure.

Now I know some municipalities (including the state itself), have funding issues but this is about public safety, commerce transportation and not having the streets of a third world country. And yes rural Aruba has some roads better than what I’m seeing here.

The first embarrassment is Interstate 57, I have family downstate, so I do this drive often (I don’t have much choice), and though it’s constantly under construction, it’s always in bad shape. As of a few weeks ago there is a multi mile stretch through most of Marion County (South of Effingham, North of Mount Vernon), that is so bad, IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation), has it coned off and its one lane for miles and causes back ups going southbound.  They even haven’t done any emergency patching or anything (and it’s the right lane), and its just there beat up looking like a war zone.

Next is my home county of Will. Try to drive from Lockport to Joliet (via Romeoville or Crest Hill), and see if you don’t hit some rough road, anytime of the year. You’d think it was a rural area down south, we pay enormous property taxes in Will (I know quite a bit of that is for education), but c’mon, keep some streets maintained. The side streets in the older western part of Lockport are atrocious; you can’t go more than 5 MPH.

And with the last two weeks of snow storms the snow removal been the biggest embarrassment yet. I’ve driven on main roads, Interstate 355 & 88 Tollways and its been days since the last storm and it’s still slick, no sign of salt or even a follow up job of shoveling, its downright deadly. Its miraculous that more people haven’t crashed and ended up in ditches.

Now in Indiana they basically shut down their highways for two days and kept people at home to work on the roads. And Illinois did not, so many of us had to go to work on these multi lane ice rinks. It’s one thing to say it’s dangerous and advise people to stay home but if the roads are open (meaning no travel ban), and our work requires us to be there, then please have the decency to cut a path for us.

And please follow up on the work so that days later its still not  frozen over and still dangerous. Motorists should not have to fend for themselves like this.
If the maintenance company (a big thank you to Archer Pines), that is the contractor through my homeowners association can make several trips to clean driveways, walkways and keep us safe and I’m sure they are way over budget for HOA fees we pay them. Then why can't cities, counties and the state along with the tollway keep the roads half decent?

This is more than government being bankrupt; this is the absence of responsibility and ignorance of public safety. If a company was this neglectful we’d have their ass in court.

I drive an average of 25,000 miles a year and to have infrastructure this unsafe and have such piss poor maintenance is more than public nuisance, its lack of leadership and moral obligation to your citizens. You better believe if your house was not maintained to local rules, there would be a price to pay.

You wonder why companies don’t want to do business here, why people move out of the area as soon as they get a chance and why people are bitter to the point they don’t show up for elections. It’s because the basic qualities of modern life are not met and in an urban and suburban sprawl, keeping the roads drive-able is right up there with garbage pick up and providing clean water.

It does not save money to not provide for citizens, it simply drives them and businesses out, as they dodge the pot holes and slide on the ice.

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Filed under: Chicago, politics

Tags: IDOT, Illinois, Lockport, Pat Quinn

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email charles.w.johnson@hotmail.com

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