Billboards warn drivers about I-80 bridge in Joliet

After cracks closed down Lake Shore Drive, attention turned to other bridges in Illinois and what trouble could be lurking under your car.

Now, the focus falls on a busy bridge in the southwest suburbs.

The 42,000 vehicles that cross an I-80 bridge in Joliet each day are now getting a dire warning: Drive at your own risk. The bridge is in critical condition.

That message comes from the Operating Engineers Local 150.

“It's important that people start to take notice of the bridges that they're driving across, the bridges they're going under - we want them to know this bridge is in critical condition. The word critical is not mine, it's a word that's on the IDOT inspection report,” said Eh Maher of Operating Engineers Local 150.

Both sides of the bridge get dismal ratings, according to IDOT inspection records. The eastbound side has a sufficiency rating of 7.4 out of 100. The westbound scores 6 out of 100 – the lowest overall rating in the Chicago area.

IDOT says, "While short-term repairs already are planned for this spring, the bridges are safe for travel and do not need to be closed."

Local 150 also started a “Look Up” campaign, trying to urge legislators to find a long term funding solution for infrastructure trouble throughout Illinois.

“Our bridges just got a D. If your kids get a D in school, what do you say? You have to improve this, have to do something, find what it takes to make this better. And that's what we've got to do as a state,” Maher said.

I-DOT says the bridge repairs this spring will cost about $5-million-dollars, with a long term comprehensive solution along I-80 reaching well over $1-billion.