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Methodology: How CBS 2 Uncovered Thousands of Concerning Light Poles In Chicago

CBS 2 spent months analyzing the findings of Chicago Department of Public Transportation (CDOT)'s 2017-2018 survey that graded the condition of every light pole. The process involved an extensive review of city records, including its contract with sub-contractor and the sub-contractor's grading system. Ultimately, CBS 2 found at the time of the study, 10 percent of all poles were graded as concerning in 2017 and 2018, and many were concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods.

The study was conducted by a group of contracted auditors who documented the addresses and conditions of poles based on their own visual assessments, according to city records.

To understand how many total poles were in concerning condition at the time of the study, CBS 2 used the sub-contractor's numbered grading system to analyze the data. CBS 2 found the study rated more than 33,000 poles as having a serious issue. This was indicated by the following ratings:

  • "1" for damage category
  • "1" for anchor bolts damage category
  • "1" or "2" for lean category
  • "1", "2" or "3" for rust category

To learn more about these ratings and their definitions, you can read the sub-contractor's grading system here.

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