Business owners, residents worry over falling rusty light poles

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CHICAGO (CBS) — We have learned of two more light poles that have toppled over in a windy 48 hours across the city.

Bringing the grand total to at least five and bringing taxpayers to their wits’ end.

CBS2’s Tim McNicholas reported from Sheffield and Armitage with what happened.

“This was on the ground.”

Amy Helgren says she thought she’d heard a car accident Thursday afternoon. She stepped outside and saw this outside her children’s clothing store on this busy section of Armitage.

“We just looked at each other like, thank goodness that it fell that way, and nobody was on the sidewalk walking, could have been a lot worse,” Helgren said.  

Just a few blocks away at Armitage and Halsted, a pole crashed down onto a car early yesterday morning. And we’ve discovered at least 3 other fallen poles in Chicago since Wednesday.

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

“It never would have occurred to me, walking down the street, that I would have to worry about a light pole falling on a person.”  

A neighboring business owner says he’s worried about the wear and tear on this pole just feet away. And he’s not the only one with his eye on poles that haven’t fallen yet.

Cicero Chimbanda is a jogger who’s concerned about these rusty poles between the 100 and 300 blocks of South Lake Shore Drive.

“You don’t wanna have anything, especially with the wind. It’s a windy city so you wanna make sure things are safe,” he said.

And he’s not the only one whose noticed.

The city’s own data from an audit done a few years ago shows concerns about at least eight light poles on the 300 block of South Lake Shore — yet there are still rusty poles in the area.

We called the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly and an aid told us they asked the Department of Transportation back in February to inspect and replace rusty poles across the ward.

They’re still waiting on an update.

“I look at this and I say, that’s just a matter of time,” Chimbanda said.  

Back on Armitage, business owners would like the city to check on these light poles too.

We’ve reached out to the Department of Transportation Friday to ask about the fallen pole and the ones on Lake Shore Drive — but we haven’t heard back.