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The Western Avenue Viaduct Is Crumbling Before Our Eyes

Watch out, Roscoe Village - just one week after its biannual checkup, concrete chunks are already falling off the Western-Belmont Overpass. According to DNAInfo, several residents have noticed sizable pieces missing from the Western Avenue viaduct set to be torn down earlier next year. No injuries or damages have been reported, but one man's pictures of debris on the road next to a cracked pillar speak for themselves. City officials claim the multiple block-spanning bridge — which runs parallel to a street-level Western Avenue — is safe for now. However, a 2012 inspection deemed it "structurally deficient" and a 2011 CDOT brochure on the removal project even noted that "the 49-year-old Western Avenue Viaduct over Belmont and Clybourn is deteriorating and reaching the end of its useful life."

Ironically, the soon-to-replaced bridge was built in 1961 to support the nearby Riverview amusement park — which itself closed six years later. The popular Six Flags of yesteryear came into existence in 1904 after a trip to Copenhagen's (still-existing) Tivoli Gardens inspired the owners of the 74 acre German Sharpshooter Park to build their own attractions. For the next chapter in the intersection's evolution, CDOT's Western Avenue Improvement Project will replace the three-dimensional traffic experience along the city's longest continuous street with a flat, five-way intersection between Western, Belmont and Clybourn. The estimated 18-to-24 month-long project also includes new sidewalks that will be 13-feet wide between Schubert and Waveland, 100 on-street parking lots, a "peak hours" third road lane, and a landscaping job that includes trees, benches, and medians. Maybe they should just build another roller coaster while they're at it.
Jason Prechtel

·Concrete Falls Off Busy Western-Belmont Bridge, but Demolition Months Away [DNAinfo]
·Western & Belmont Viaduct To Vanish, 1.3 Miles of Wider Sidewalks Planned [Streetsblog Chicago]