Illinois: How billboards warning motorists of I-80 bridge safety concerns created one of 2019′s biggest local political stories

Will County billboards that warned motorists about bridges stoked public-safety fears and helped convince state lawmakers of the need to approve a $45 billion infrastructure plan.

The billboards and their impact arguably deserve to rank among the top political stories of the year, if not the decade.

Construction unions paid to display the messages “Cross bridge at your own risk” and “Bridge ahead in critical condition” on electronic billboards near Interstate 80 bridges over the Des Plaines River in Joliet.

The billboards heightened motorists’ fears about crumbling infrastructure and generated bipartisan support for the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois program.