Construction Chaos

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

For six months drivers have maneuvered in and out of the construction maze along U.S. Route 20 in Freeport, but some motorists and potential customers choose to avoid the mess altogether.

Now, businesses are feeling the effects of all the "road closed" signs.

The smell from a barbeque grill is enticing, but what may not be so easy to digest is finding the way to Hog Wild BBQ. Owner Shalom Dunn opened his business before the construction started, under the assumption that the stretch in front of his business would remain intact until next year. Now, he's estimating a $36,000 loss and laying off three employees.

Hog Wild BBQ owner Shalom Dunn says, "I've got a flooded basement and the noise, you can hear the loud noise."

The Illinois Department of Transportation sends business owners and residents letters informing them of the progress. In one of the letters Shalom received I-DOT says temporary access will be maintained to your business at all times, but Shalom disagrees. He says numerous times there has been bulldozers blocking the intersection so people couldn't get through.

A few blocks down from Hog Wild BBQ, MVP Bar and Grill should be gearing up to tackle extra business, but instead owner Tom McCartney says they will continue to practice patience.

I-DOT says this first phase is taking longer than expected since they got a little behind schedule when the project started. Phase one is expected to be complete by the end of October. Shalom just hopes his customers can keep supporting him for two more months.

Shalom says, "I've sunk everything into this business, I'm not gonna let it go without a fight."

The total cost for the project is $6.5 million. Phase two starts in March and should be done by October 31, 2005.


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