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When Manholes Attack

By Erin in News on Jul 31, 2006 9:53PM

Chicagoist won't rehash the ol' "Two Seasons In Chicago" joke because it's tired and you all know it. There is some truth to it, of course, and if you're a regular driver on the city streets, as well as the surrounding expressways, construction is the bane of your existence.

Hopefully, though, construction woes didn't cost any of you $3K in damage to your car as it did to West Dundee's Matt Wilkerson. In today's Getting Around, Chicago Tribune reporter Jon Hilkevitch tells the story of Wilkerson who, when going westbound on the Kennedy on July 24, hit an uncovered manhole poking through the temporary pavement in the construction zone near the near Lawrence Avenue exit. The impact busted two tires, cracked the car's windshield, and, crazily enough, deployed two airbags.

According to Hilkevitch's piece, more than 70 cars have been damaged in the past two weeks alone from the manholes, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is blaming it all on Plote Construction Co. of Elgin and some of its frontline employees. This stance, however, is a hysterical turnabout since when Hilkevitch originally contacted IDOT about the problem, IDOT blamed the drivers AND totally underreported the number of blowouts. Hilkevitch does a great job taking IDOT apart and, essentially, making them all come off as out-of-touch bureaucrats who would just as soon pass the buck rather than to ensure the safety of Illinois drivers.

Should it have taken two weeks to get to the bottom of something so obvious? Does anyone know if they had something as basic as a warning sign up?

If you're a driver looking file a claim, you can call IDOT at (847) 705-4401, or go on line at

Image courtesy of sadgirlseven