Have you ever felt a slight jolt while driving in to Illinois from Indiana on I-80/94 just west of the state line? If so, it’s probably because of a slight dip in the road surface on the expressway above Burnham Avenue.
First responder Mike Hull, of Hammond, said he routinely drives along the stretch of highway in his personal car and in fire department vehicles and said the dip is only getting worse.
“With the ground being concrete, especially in the winter time, you get frozen conditions. One big dip like that will send any car out of control,” Hull said.
Hull said he’s responded to dozens of vehicle accidents in the area as a firefighter in recent years. He believes some of the wrecks were caused by the dip in the road surface.
"If they’re switching lanes to the inside, they’re gonna hit that inside wall," Hull said. “If you look in that area you’ll see car parts. You’ll see bumper parts. You’ll see mud flaps from semi-trucks,” Hull said.
Gouges in the road surface, according to Hull, occur when vehicles “bottom out.”
“Your vehicle has a suspension. There’s only so much that suspension can take before the bottom of your vehicles will actually scrape the pavement,” Hull said.
Illinois State Police said it has worked crashes in or around that area throughout the years. However, a spokesperson said ISP could not confirm if any of those crashes were related to any road defects at or around that location.
Hull said he contacted the Illinois Department of Transportation with his concerns, but said he was told that IDOT engineers could not find a problem.
“I explained the skid marks, the gouges,” Hull said. “You won’t see it on any other stretch of this highway like that. It’s just undeniable.”
Several Facebook users chimed in on the issue by acknowledging the dip in the surface. One person said the bounce gets worse depending on how fast you drive.
A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Transportation told NBC 5 Investigates that a maintenance team was in the area Thursday, but did not experience any issues when traveling the speed limit.
“The Department is certainly not aware of any pavement issues in that location that have created reoccurring problems,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to monitor to see if any correction action is necessary.”