Starting Oct. 5 and lasting approximately nine days, the railroad crossing just before the intersection of Illinois 22 (Half Day Road) and Illinois 43 (Waukegan Road) was shut down in order to complete repaving from Telegraph Road up to the crossing. This particular closing, in addition to the ongoing widening of Illinois 22 from Interstate 94 to U.S. 41, has caused headaches for Trinity students and hurt those businesses in the Bannockburn Green Shopping Center.
According to Bannockburn Police Department Chief of Police Ron Price, IDOT’s approved detour route called for eastbound Illinois 22 users to take Riverwoods Road northbound to eastbound Everett Road to southbound Illinois 43, while westbound Illinois 22 traffic would be directed to northbound Illinois 43, westbound Everett Road and southbound Riverwoods Road to connect with Illinois 22.
However, Price noted that local traffic could use northbound Telegraph Road to connect with either eastbound Old Mill Road or Everett Road and connect with southbound Illinois 43, leading back to Illinois 22. Also, Telegraph Road connects at the south with Greenwood Road and a few other crossings, allowing drivers to connect back with Illinois 43 northbound to reach Illinois 22.
Price acknowledges this particular closure caused problems because about 15,000 vehicles travel across these railroad tracks every day. He also said the village could make some considerations for the businesses in the shopping center that are losing revenue because many customers now find it inconvenient to get around.
Most recently, the two north entrances to the shopping center have been shut down to finish repaving, making it more difficult with only one entrance open.
According to Price, the entire project is estimated to be finished by the end of June 2012 and is about 35% complete, but he said the project is about 20 days behind already. Crews began laying new concrete in front of the shopping center on Oct.10, and they estimate this should be done on both sides of Half Day Road before Dec. 1. Work will come to a halt on Dec.1 due to weather conditions and be resumed in March.
Price also pointed out that most people don’t realize all that goes into redoing roads, which calls for tearing up/reworking of sewers, storm drains, and electrical fixings.
“You can’t put a new road in using an old storm system,” he said.
Price and the Bannockburn Police Department are cracking down on drivers who speed, text message, and violate other laws that endanger the construction workers, while also promoting the well-being of the businesses who are now struggling. On Oct. 1, the Bannockburn Green Shopping Center held a sidewalk sale to try to bolster sales.
Newport Coffee House owner Nevair Jindoyan, a Trinity ’02 graduate, feels the impact the construction has had on her business since late July, saying she is down 40% in revenue since the project started, and close to 50% once the tracks were closed off.
“I’m pretty confident that all businesses are down 40%,” she said. “This is supposed to be my busy season but it’s my slowest.”
While she has not yet started cutting hours, she knows this could be an option if times get worse. Her loyal customers still give her business, but TIU students and locals cannot get to the shop easily.
She hasn’t noticed trends that people are still coming early in the morning hours, but eight a.m. begins a period where business is dead. The coffee house is open from 5:30 a.m-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, Saturdays from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Junior Cassie Glendenning commutes from her apartment in Highwood and finds it a hassle to get to and from Trinity. Glendenning said a normal drive to school without construction takes eight minutes, but the railroad closure doubles her commute time.
Glendenning plans around the construction, not driving during rush hour times unless she forgets something at home. She also feels the construction has intensified because they are pressing to finish it before the winter.
Dogout restaurant owner Norm Braverman says his revenue is down anywhere from 35-50% on a given day and he is frustrated because he feels there is no light at the end of the tunnel with the slower winter season approaching. Braverman feels many customers have developed new patterns since the construction and fears they may not go back to the businesses at the shopping center.
With the north entrances closed and poor signage on Route 22 leading up to the closure, Braverman feels many potential customers simply move on to the next place down the road for food. Braverman has had to cut hours a little bit, but he is also very sensitive to his employees’ needs to provide for their families.
“It’s getting progressively worse,” he said. “The problem is no matter what you do, they don’t want to come here because it’s too hard.”
Updates on the impacts to traffic are available at travelmidwest.com.