By Mugo Odigwe


(CBS) — Hammond mayor Tom McDermott shut down a road along the border of Chicago Friday and told a local radio show that he may never re-open the street again.

Surprised motorists were forced to turn around after the posted road closed signs for repairs.

“We are going to take our time and we are going to see how much it’s going to cost to completely overhaul it,” McDermott said on his WJOB-AM local radio show on Friday morning.

“I hear from a lot of residents who don’t like Boy Scout Road.” McDermott said. He said it’s a high crime area, caused by Chicago residents driving into Hammond.

However, Chicago and Hammond drivers told CBS 2 they used the road daily.

“I think it should be fixed,” said John Vanvliet. “I mean it’s a nice little shortcut into Illinois.”

McDermott questioned whether it’s worth the money to fix it, or simply save the money and shut it down.

“It doesn’t need to be there,” McDermott said. “If I don’t get any blow back from the residents it may not open again.”

The move comes after CBS 2 exposed car damage from a bumpy stretch known as Boy Scout Road, 134th Street and 136th Street.

The City of Chicago was patching up potholes on the far southeast side Thursday morning, just hours after the CBS 2 story.

The road runs across the state line from Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood to Hammond.

At a town hall meeting on Wednesday night, McDermott mentioned the CBS 2 coverage and went on to say that 134th Street, also known as Boy Scout Road, is used mainly by Illinois residents going to Hammond.

“It’s not really used by a lot of Hammond residents,” he said.

He openly discussed with a city engineer whether Hammond has any use for the road.

The next closest road from Illinois to Indiana is more than a mile away.

But Hammond business owners near 134th Street tell CBS 2 they are not so interested.

“People from Hammond actually go out that way also,” Blessings Resale Store owner Jacqueline Castillo said.

“To have businesses pay for that, I think, is a terrible idea,” Pete Ramos, owner of Petey’s Famous Gyros & Ice Cream, said.

John Skadvis, owner of Auto Clinic & Muffler shop, said he wants the road repaired even though his shop gains business from people damaging their cars on the road.

“We do use that road. Our customers use that road. I think they (the city) should repair it,” he said.

The 10th Ward alderman’s office said it has been considering resurfacing the road. A staff member said after McDermott’s remarks the alderman’s office is reaching out to the City of Hammond for clarification.

The City Of Hammond is urging the public to use Indianapolis Boulevard, 112th Street or Indiana 312 as alternate routes to enter or leave Hammond.