CHICAGO — Residents on Chicago’s Northwest Side are sounding off after a train accident Thursday morning at an intersection that has been plagued by construction for months.
Business owners and residents of the city’s Edgebrook neighborhood say a lengthy construction project is creating gridlock at the intersection near North Caldwell Avenue, North Lehigh Avenue and Devon Avenue.
Authorities have not said construction in the area caused an accident in which an Amtrak train clipped an SUV during the morning rush hour. There were no serious injuries but traffic in the area experienced major delays.
But residents and business owners say the congestion from the project is at least partially to blame.
“It’s been a mess since the beginning of March,” restaurant owner Blake Baum said. “There’s nowhere to go, because it’s one lane, and you’re stuck. Unfortunately whoever it was, decided to go sit on the tracks, but there’s nowhere to go. From what I understand the people in front and people in back couldn’t move either.”
Baum also said the construction has taken a bite out of business.
“Businesses have been closing and struggling.”
The construction falls into two city wards. The city is replacing a century old sewer line. It was scheduled to be completed . It was originally scheduled to be completed on Nov. 7, but work was delayed by two months when construction crews found — and had to relocate — a fiber optic cable line under the train tracks. The project will be extended by only 12 days, and should be finished by Nov. 19, according to Ald. Anthony Napalitano's office.
Authorities say crews have been working long hours and Saturdays. It is important to the businesses to be open before the holiday shopping season.
Now the city says the project should be completed by November 19.
Residents are hopeful, but aren’t sure.
“I’m hopeful. I’m very hopeful that we will get a break here because I’ve never seen so much construction in my life,” Angie Mrowiec said.