CHICAGO (CBS) — Frustrations are brewing over a pothole-ridden road and a local government’s handling of the problem.
The City Of Hammond shut down its part of 134th Street, which becomes 136th Street in Indiana, indefinitely Friday–leaving drivers scrambling for a detour across the state line into Chicago.
Confused drivers approached the barricades at the southeast border of Chicago Friday, only to find they’d have to turn around.
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“I still see they’re all making U-turns. Nobody really knows,” driver Joann Martinez said. “This is a road that is constantly being used.”
Those drivers aren’t the only ones surprised.
Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott said on his radio show Friday that he had not given Chicago 10th Ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza any heads up. He was responding to a question from a caller who pointed out that many Illinois drivers were being forced to turn around.
“No, I didn’t (tell her),” McDermott said while laughing.
A staff member for the alderman said members of her team were surprised by the move and they were working Friday to get detour signs put up.
The City of Chicago patched its side of the road Thursday morning after a CBS 2 report exposing car damage from the potholes.
In a statement to CBS 2, McDermott said the road will be closed “until further actions are taken to evaluate the cost to return it to a safe condition.”
The mayor said the road is mainly used by Illinois residents going into Hammond.
James Enriquez, who works and lives in Whiting, Indiana, told CBS 2 he uses the road every day.
“I don’t think it’s a great idea (to shut it down),” Enriquz said. “I think they just need to fix it.”
The radio show caller who asked McDermott the question said he uses it frequently and lives in Lowell, Indiana. He said there is also a problem with littering on the road.
“If you close it, so be it,” the caller said.
Gostlin Street is the next closest road crossing the state line–more than a mile from 134th Street.
McDermott said he’ll consider concerns from Hammond business owners as the city decides whether to close the road for good.
“We do use that road. Our customers do,” Auto Clinic & Muffler Shop owner John Skadvis said. “They should repair it.”
“A lot of people come from Hegewisch down to Hammond to buy stuff as far as food, clothing,” Blessings Resale Store owner Jacqueline Castillo said.
Earlier this week, McDermott said that businesses should perhaps be responsible for the road. On Friday he said that was a “tongue-in-cheek” comment.
The mayor said on his radio show that if he doesn’t “get much blow back” the road may stay closed for good.
No crews were working on the road Friday.