Businesses Worried About Plans To Rebuild 55th & LaGrange Intersection

CHICAGO (CBS) — Businesses near a very busy west suburban intersection are worried about the state’s plans to rebuild the junction starting in three or four years.

The intersection is 55th and LaGrange Road in Countryside.

Ray Manz owns Café Salsa on 55th Street just east of LaGrange Road. He’s worried about a lengthy median that could keep people from turning into his business from the eastbound lanes of 55th.

“They have to do a U-turn, and flip around, and it’s going to be a disaster,” he says.

Manz says the new intersection could impact the jobs of some of the 100 people who work in businesses near 55th and LaGrange.

John Walano is one of the owners of Main Street Wine and Spirits on LaGrange Road, north of the intersection. His and other businesses stand to lose parking spaces.

“It’s going to kill a lot of businesses. It really would. To take away half your parking is big, and we can’t afford to lose that,” he says.

Walano also is concerned about access to businesses being reduced.

“When you’re an in-and-out store like a liquor store, a grocery store, people make a different route change. If it’s a pain in the butt to get in and out of there, you’re not the only person on the street. There’s a lot of competition, and they’ll go elsewhere,” he says.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials meet with area business owners on Thursday. IDOT project manager Carlos Feliciano, IDOT’s in-house project and environmental studies unit head says the state is open to making changes to the reconstruction plan, if possible.

“If there’s any way to mitigate any impact, we’re open to listening to the businesses,” he says. “They may have to reconfigure how the striping of their parking is set up, so instead of perpendicular parking, maybe they will have to change it to parallel parking.”

Construction would not begin for three to four years.

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