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Poor Safety Rating At Site Of Metra Wall Collapse

CHICAGO (CBS)--Metra stopped Milwaukee District North Line service Monday night after a weakened hillside near a retaining wall gave way near a railway bridge. CBS 2 has learned the retaining wall recently received a poor inspection rating.

The poor safety rating wasn't low enough to designate the wall as unsafe, but it could have been a sign of future problems.

The wall gave out overnight on Monday in Libertyville, a day after it was seen buckling after heavy rains. Fortunately, Lake County authorities had already blocked traffic on Route 45 passing below.

Metra spokesperson Michael Gillis said bridge inspectors were sent to the scene of the collapse.

"We do inspect all these components on a regular basis," Gillis said. "If there was any question of safety we wouldn't be operating over it."

Metra owns both the wall and the railway, and tells CBS 2 the structures passed their last inspection in October.

The Federal Railroad Administration requires annual bridge inspections, but nearby retaining walls don't necessarily fall under those requirements because they don't carry tracks.

Metra commuter Rich Schroedle said he questioned the standards of the safety inspections.

"If that's a Metra piece of infrastructure, they should be probably inspecting those things more often," Schroelde said.

Gillis described the incident as unusual.

The National Highway Administration and the Federal Highway Administration are both conducting reports on the incident.


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