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Obama's 'Fix it First' Program Would Mend 'Deficient' DuPage County Bridges

In his 2013 State of the Union Address Tuesday, President Barack Obama touched on immigration policy, gun control and the economy, among other national issues. In terms of infrastructure, he proposed a "Fix it First" plan that may affect the C

President Barack Obama proposed Tuesday night what he called a "Fix It First" program to address the nation's crumbling infrastructure—like roads and bridges—in an effort to improve citizens' quality of life and bring jobs to the United States.

"I propose a 'Fix-It-First' program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country," he said during the State of the Union Address.

"And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most—modern ports to move goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children."

Some of the structurally deficient bridges Obama referred to are located in DuPage County, according to Transportation for America. The organization's campaign says coordinators are "eager to reform how we spend transportation dollars at the federal, state and local level to create a safer, cleaner and smarter transportation system that works for everyone."

Several DuPage County bridges are categorized as "deficient," many of which are located in communities surrounding Downers Grove.

One such bridge is located in Woodridge at 75th Street across the east branch of the DuPage River. Transportation for America Data indicates that an average of 31,800 cars use the 53-year-old bridge daily. 

Several bridges in Lisle are listed as structurally deficient, including ones at Four Lakes and Short Street, both of which cross the DuPage River. Also listed is the bridge at Ogden Avenue and Route 53, which is traveled by about 32,100 cars per day, according to the campaign.

Also listed as structurally deficient:

  • Route 83 bridge in Willowbrook, crossing Marion Hills/63rd Street (traveled by 55,000 cars daily);
  • Hill Avenue bridge in Glen Ellyn, crossing east branch of the DuPage River (traveled by 4,600 cars daily);
  • Wesley Street bridge in Wheaton, crossing the Union Pacific Railroad tracks (traveled by 3,650 cars daily).

Overall, Illinois ranks 35th in the country when it comes to inadequate bridges with about 8.5 percent of all its bridges rated as such.

That may change if Obama has anything to say about it.

"Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America," he said Tuesday. "And let’s start right away."

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Ron Brzoska February 13, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Do we know what qualifies a bridge as structurally deficient? Many high traffic bridges are listed, many that I travel across on a regular basis. These deficiencies are not apparent to the tens of thousands of people that travel on them everyday. Therefore, I am cautious about this repackaging of the "shovel ready" jobs that never came to fruition. I am also weary of the annual construction projects that seem to occur on the same streets every year that never had a need for them in the first place. I am envisioning Michael Douglass in "Falling Down" asking the construction worker why the roads are closed when there was nothing wrong with the street yesterday.
RhondaVW February 13, 2013 at 07:49 PM
This is a composite bridge technology out of Chicago: http://tinyurl.com/HCB-Videos http://tinyurl.com/HCBSpans

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