CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A stretch of Southwest Highway that remains flooded Friday in Orland Park is frustrating business owners who say the inconvenience is happening more and more regularly.
Southwest Highway has been closed since Tuesday because of flooding between 131st and 135th Streets.
Sign company partner Sam Van Bruggen said his company has been on 134th and Southwest Highway for more than 40 years and that, flooding that used to close that stretch for one day every few years now closes it for days multiple times a year.
“This is the worst that we’ve ever seen it,” he said.
Van Bruggen calls it very inconvenient and frustrating. He’s had to use a pick-up truck and other vehicles to shuttle employees to the nearest dry ground – the parking lot of the Palos Hills Country Club on 131st and Southwest Highway.
He said the high water has affected deliveries of materials he needs.
“UPS made it in [yesterday]. I think the FedEx got stuck in the water [Wednesday],” Bruggen said.
Aishling Dalton Kelly runs a non-medical home care business from a building on 132rd and Southwest Highway. To get to her business on Tuesday, she said, she waded through four feet of water.
“I put the garbage bags over my pants, and tied them each to underneath my belt buckle,” she said.
“This is about the third time that this has happened in less than a year and a half,” and she said it’s “crippling” her business.
She has had to have other office staff work off-site because Southwest Highway has been impassable.
Orland Park Village Manager Joe LaMargo said IDOT knows about the problem and plans to do something between now and 2023.
“We have been informed that that improvement for that section is currently in IDOT’s five-year plan,” but LaMargo said it’s not clear yet what year IDOT plans to do the work.
“We are working with [IDOT] collaboratively to hopefully resolve that issue because it has been a problem for some time,” LaMargo said.
Van Bruggen said IDOT talked to businesses and others in the community in 2016. He said IDOT has talked of needing to buy 15-to-20 foot pieces of the businesses properties in order to engineer a plan that would prevent Southwest Highway from flooding.