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Mayor Schmidt Expresses his Concern for the Condition of the Touhy Avenue Union Pacific Viaduct

March 5, 2014 10:07 AM

Mayor Schmidt requested that his following statement be read into the record at the March 3, 2014 City Council meeting:  

 “The City has been complaining to Union Pacific for years about the condition of the railroad viaduct over Touhy Avenue. And for years, Union Pacific has refused to repair the viaduct, telling us it is not a safety hazard.  However, in light of the recent incident where some of our residents barely escaped serious injury because of materials falling from above, it is apparent that Union Pacific has either been misleading us or that the condition of the viaduct has deteriorated to the point that it is now unquestionably a public safety hazard. Either way, enough is enough. Further inaction by Union Pacific would border on criminal negligence.   I am directing staff to contact Union Pacific and demand, not ask, demand that the viaduct be repaired in the very near future. Staff should further demand that Union Pacific provide us with a timetable within 30 days specifying a start date and a completion date for the repairs. The members of the METRA Board and the Regional Transportation Authority Board should be copied on the communication as well as the Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation and our state senators and state representatives.  Meanwhile, I am asking the city attorney to provide a report at the March 17 City Council meeting regarding the City's legal options, including filing an action for a mandatory injunction at the end of the 30 day period if Union Pacific has not met our demands.”

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