7016 North Clark Street Cave-in disaster Politics and Clout
I noticed in the paper today a clear and concise explanation of a near disaster in Alderman Joe Moore's Ward. I think Mayor Daley should put Fran Spielman in charge of the City. I cannot understand why the City of Chicago authorized a contractor to make repairs to a street they destroyed. I will explain the cause of this safety violation that could have caused lives if not for the heroic efforts of CPD Officer Harris. I do not know who would allow this company to make a major repair when the repair was far out of the scope of the contract and they are not an approved vendor for street repairs. The gas company far exceeded their authority when they asked the contractor to bring sand in. When I first went on the scene, I asked for backhoes and plates. I asked for dump trucks and a leak crew. I asked for tow trucks. The City of Chicago had only one tow truck on duty for the entire city. The driver does not have a key for the denver boot. As precious time was wasted, a supervisor had to be dispatched. That supervisor was not allowed to make a decision and waited for his supervisor to respond. That supervisor told us no crew could come out and the gas company would take over. (City of Chicago Gas Company?) Was it because of the overtime? Last Friday, a Foreman work sixteen hours straight(3:00p.m. until 7:00 a.m. and then was called in for more overtime Saturday morning! (About another 8 hours of overtime). Anyway, as time was wasting, the sand that was underneath the concrete and the asphalt continued to fall into the middle of the ditch. The ditch did not have shoring, even though this was a major street with truck and bus traffic. As the sand went away with every passing moment, the concrete became a ledge. Concrete may be strong but only when properly supported. The steel plating was far too short for the ditch and one plate was like a teeter totter. None of the plates had been pinned to the asphalt and no asphalt was placed at the start of the plates to avoid rough contact and sliding. Inspectors from Chicago should enforce the rules to avoid this disaster. The City of Chicago should inspect every open ditch on every street. Contractors with sub-standard rental equipment should not be taking apart major streets. Last but not least, the saw-cutting of our roads should be done by a registered company; saw cutting a few inches down destroys the concrete under the asphalt when you break out the concrete. Is Mayor Daley making sure contractors compact the soil before the concrete and asphalt patch is repaired? Will Mayor Daley check if this is a Union company? Did the Company hire a licensed Union Plumber to install the new water service? Were the workers hired by Boro's Plumbing competent and certified in trenches? Have any Plumbing Inspectors ever taken a gift from the company? I heard Boros Plumbing was a signatory member of Plumber's Local 130, but now they are non-union. Did this company pay prevailing wage when they worked outside the scope of the permit. I hope when this company is finished with the major repairs they show me a signed contract from the City of Chicago authorizing work far beyond the scope of the trench they asked for. The guy in charge of the scene to move the backhoe for Boros was "Dragon". I think Mayor Daley needs to look at how his Administration responds to decisions during a crisis! I think all the stores in the area that lost revenue and the problems it caused the Fire Station was a sin. The Chicago Police did a great job. The Department of Water Mangement workers did a outstanding job. I think politics and Clout had a major hand in the handling of this, I can't wait to testify. Photo by Patrick McDonough
Trench mishap shuts N. Clark NO INJURIES | Plumber in the hole with 5 citations BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter A Skokie plumbing company has been slapped with five citations -- with fines ranging from $200- to $500-a-day -- for creating a hole on a busy North Side street big enough to swallow a CTA bus. The 7000 block of North Clark Street was closed to traffic at 10 a.m. Sunday and all day Monday after a metal plate covering an excavation trench made by Boro's Plumbing shifted, causing chunks of pavement to break off into the trench. Boro's Plumbing had a city permit to do a water tap for a new business at 7016 N. Clark. But the company was cited for not having metal plates large enough to cover the excavation hole, failing to fasten those plates correctly and neglecting to use a masonry saw to make a clean cut of the pavement and remove it. Each of the citations carries a fine ranging from $200 to $500. City Hall is also demanding that Boro's restore the street to the condition it was in prior to construction and compensate Chicago taxpayers for the formidable emergency response. Company officials could not be reached for comment. "Because the city responded so quickly and the street was blocked to traffic, no one was injured, and I'm not aware of any public or private property damage," said Brian Steele, spokesman for the Transportation Department. "Our inspector was at this location on Saturday and everything was in good order. [But] all it takes is for one vehicle to slam on the brakes" for metal plates to shift, especially when they're not fastened properly. Pat McDonough, a Water Management investigator assigned to the site, said the contractor's mistakes nearly caused a "major disaster." A piece of the street fell onto a 12-inch gas main, but did not break the main, he said. Parked cars were removed from the street, but one of them had a Denver boot and could not be moved. And a Chicago Police officer stopped a CTA bus "within 10 or 15 feet of the hole," McDonough said. "If the bus had gotten any closer, it definitely would have fallen into the ditch," McDonough said.