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After Light Pole Falls Downtown, Expert Says City Inspections Are Long Overdue

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Crews were busy Thursday night repairing a light pole that fell down outside the Thompson Center downtown – leaving a woman injured.

Meanwhile, at least two poles besides the one that came toppling over have also been taken down outside the Thompson Center. The city finally decided to inspect them.

And as CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, an expert we talked to is insisting those inspections are long overdue.

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Chicago Department of Transportation crews spent Thursday evening inspecting the light poles along LaSalle Street outside the Thompson Center. In some cases, they removed rusted structures.

"It's unfortunate it takes an incident like this for them to be reactive in terms of addressing these issues," said IIT professor and materials engineer Dr. Sammy Tin.

When people walk downtown or anywhere in Chicago, they don't expect light poles to come crashing down. Yet, it turns out this happens more often than people think.

"(These) in my opinion are very pressing issues," Tin said.

The 2 Investigators have documented the complaints, reported rusted street light bases to the city, and talked to the people injured by the unsafe poles dating back to 2015.

Yet, we still have poles falling today.

"This is definitely a recurring issue," Tin said. We've seen many, many light poles over the past number of years that I've been talking to you guys, and we've pointed these issues out continuously - but without much of a solution."

In fact, just steps from where the pole fell, rusted poles were seen concealed under plastic decorative covers.

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