LA GRANGE – Now, it's official.
Months after residents and Village Trustees began voicing their opposition to a potential overpass at 47th Street and East Avenue, the Village Board approved a resolution Monday positioning the village squarely against an overpass at the intersection.
The resolution, proposed by Board President Tom Livingston, reads:
"The Village believes that any grade separation west of the intersection on 47th Street would be detrimental to the quality of life for our residents, would significantly, adversely, and forever change the residential character of our community, and would undermine the Village's traffic calming and pedestrian safety investments made to date."
An overpass is one option under consideration by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), which is studying the intersection for improvements. The project also falls under the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE), which wants to replace the current four-way stop with either an overpass or underpass to free up travel on the three Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad tracks that cross through the intersection.
CREATE says that 12,000 vehicles and 56 freight trains pass through the crossing daily and that a grade separation would eliminate delay to more than 2,200 vehicles every day, resulting in the alleviation of 28,500 motorist hours of delay in a year.
To La Grange, though, an overpass would further divide two sides of the village already disjointed by the busy intersection.
“It separates our town and we don’t want it to get worse,” " said Trustee David McCarty of the intersection.
Livingston said the village's resolution would, "send [IDOT] a signal of where we're at and save time," in its planning.
McCarty said 40-50 La Grange residents attended the last IDOT community meeting for the project, which would also affect surrounding towns like McCook and Brookfield,
“This is a regional solution, and we’ve got to understand, we’re part of the region," Trustee Mark Langan said.
But McCarty said it was time for La Grange to be selfish.
“The solution that’s right for La Grange might not be best on the macro level," he said.
IDOT plans to recommend a design approval for the project in June 2015.