Graffiti problems plague Chicago area expressways

Driving Chicago area expressways is driving some Chicago aldermen crazy.

Last week, there were complaints about all the trash. Now, aldermen are concerned about the spike in graffiti along the city's major arteries, which are owned and maintained by the state.

"The graffiti is just horrendous. Especially when you enter the heart of the city’s downtown,” said Alderman Pat Dowell.

The painfully slow reconstruction of the Jane Byrne Interchange has been aggravating drivers on the Ryan, the Eisenhower and the Kennedy expressways for more than five years, and likely won't be completed until 2022.

But now there's a new eyesore. Taggers have been scaling walls, dodging cars and breaking into secured construction zones in order to deface newly poured concrete.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation says crews have been slowly removing the graffiti because they're also busy cleaning up trash and fixing potholes.

"We'll get to it when we can. We're working on it. We've been able to do some in the past few days and we'll do more in the days and weeks ahead,” IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell.

Tridgell says it's frustrating because as soon as they remove the graffiti, the taggers are back in the same spot.

And it’s not just the Jane Byrne Interchange. Aldermen say graffiti is on the increase on all the roadways around the city.

"And I think the taggers are serial taggers at this point. So you have to figure out a more permanent way to get their attention away from the expressways,” Dowell said.

"We really ask for the public's cooperation. If they see something, report it. It is an act of vandalism, and it takes a lot of time and effort on our behalf to get it removed,” Tridgell said.