Obama's 'Fix it First' Program Would Mend 'Deficient' North Side 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 North Side.
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."
Many of the structurally deficient bridges Obama referred to are located on Chicago's North Side, 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."
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The other two pass over the Chicago River, one on West Cortland Street and the other, just west of North Ashland Avenue. Transportation for America Data indicates that 18,400 and 1,509 cars, respectively, use them daily. The West Cortland Street bridge dates back to 1902, the data says.
See the accompanying map for a look at other deficient bridges, which are indicated in red.
On the western outskirts of Lincoln Square is a century-old deficient bridge near Ronan Park. Data indicates that about 1,009 cars use it each day. Another is the renown Western bridge in Roscoe Village which was built in 1961. Around 38,400 drivers cruise that bridge each day, according to the campaign.
Planning is moving forward to repair various intersections within the city's 32nd Ward, according to Ald. Scott Waguespack. Those include the Damen, Elston and Fullerton project as well as Western Avenue Corridor improvements. Waguespack serves parts of Bucktown, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, and Wicker Park, among others.
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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