CHICAGO (CBS) — Bedford Park’s emissions testing center is known to have long lines, and the traffic jams are negatively affecting the community on many levels, according to some city officials.
“There’s hundreds and hundreds of cars coming into this two-block area,” said Bedford Park Police Chief Tom Hansen.
The emissions testing center sits on a two-lane road in a tight warehouse district.
“There’s too much traffic for the roadway,” Hansen said.
Motorists sometimes drive the wrong way down the street for several blocks just to avoid the line.
“When it gets really bad we have to shut down some roadways,” Hansen said.
In the aftermath of a recent fender bender, motorists exited while cars drove around them and straight into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler.
“I’ve seen it get pretty bad,” Hansen said.
Even when authorities with flashing lights escort delivery trucks, they come face-to-face with oncoming traffic.
In this instance, a truck appearing to drive away suddenly backed up, nearly missing an approaching escort.
Hansen said police have a report of a truck being stuck for 45 minutes waiting to reach its destination a block down the street.
The end of the month seems to be the worst time for drivers who use the area because emissions certificates come up for renewal.
The heavy traffic near the emissions testing facility started in 2016 when former Gov. Bruce Rauner privatized the emissions testing system, closing the city’s two centers.
The closest facilities are now in Skokie to the north and Bedford Park to the southwest.
Dave Brady, Village President of Bedford Park, said the congestion is hurting local businesses.
“We’ve had companies threaten to leave,” Brady said.
“It’s something that’s not in their control, and it’s costing them money,” Brady said.
The emissions testing center has agreed to pay for traffic officers at the end of every month.
Area employees have also been issued window placards, allowing them access to closed off roads.
But Brady said these solutions are only “Band-Aids,” and a long-term solution falls on the state’s shoulders.
“The state needs to open more facilities,” he said.
In the past, state officials have said there are no plans to open new testing centers.
The Pritzker Administration has not responded to a request for comment.