ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A major construction project on Route 2 in Rockford is making commutes more difficult for drivers and businesses.
A big chunk of South Main will be closed tomorrow, including a section in front of Bing’s Drive-In. There are already barricades up. Typically, this is Bing’s busiest time of the year, but the construction may change that this year.
Loretta Gasparini and her family have been serving up burgers for the last 27 years at Bing’s Drive In along South Main Street and after all those years, Route 2 poses a new problem—major construction.
“I don’t know if it will be Bing’s demise or not, I can’t tell you because we’ve never been in this circumstance,” Loretta said.
The barricades were put up Tuesday, blocking southbound lanes and starting Thrusday all of South Main will be closed between Harrison and Iroquois Avenues. For two weeks, the Illinois Department of Transportation says there will be a way to access Bing’s but Gaspirini isn’t sure how and she’s worried the construction will keep customers away.
“I don’t know what they’ll do for a couple of weeks other than starve for two weeks,” said Bing’s customer, Ray Bissman.
Drivers will have their own problems.
“It’s going to be very difficult especially with bigger trucks that we have, coming down here.”
The Road Repairs are also taking away work from seasonal employees.
“We’re not hiring anyone, we can’t we have to see what’s going on because it isn’t just closing this road for two weeks, it’s going to be construction all summer here,” said driver Gerard Smith.
The section is closing so crews can replace a culvert. While it’s a pain, drivers also say it will be nice to eventually have smoother roads in the area as part of a larger project.
Gasparini is frustrated because she says she was never notified about this closure. She says she found out through the news. Gasparini says she spoke with IDOT about pushing the closure to the fall, but they said it was too late to change plans.
The closure could also be the difference between life and death for the Blackhawk Fire Department just south of Bing’s where the closure means firefighters will have to find detours to get to emergencies.
Chief Roger Flood with Blackhawk says if they have an emergency and have to head north, they’ll now have to loop around the construction. He says that could add an extra two minutes to their arrival time. If it’s a fire, those two minutes may not make a huge difference, but he says if it’s a heart attack it could be the difference between life and death.