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What Should Be Done at 47th Street and East Avenue?

Do nothing or risk more traffic with signal improvements and other changes? LaGrange is talking about what comes next.

LaGrange residents have talked about and struggled with traffic congestion at the 47th Street and East Avenue intersection for years.

In June 2013, the village decided an overpass wasn't the right solution because the edifice would split the town (and require the demolition of five homes, 11 businesses and part of the nearby park).

At present, traffic is managed with four stop signs.

A new solution being studied by the Illinois Department of Transportation would place traffic lights at the intersection, along with pylons on Bluff Avenue to prevent cars from bypassing the railroad gates.

David Heslinga, a consultant hired by IDOT, explained the ramifications of this solution earlier this week to the village board. You can view his slideshow in full on the village website.

Heslinga agreed that the overpass or underpass would be too costly and disruptive. Some would have IDOT do nothing to the intersection and just leave it be.

Heslinga favors adding the traffic signals and making the Bluff Avenue cutoff a one-way route southeast between eastbound 47th Street and southbound East Avenue.

Residents, however, worry these changes would encourage more traffic through the intersection and send more cars through the adjoining neighborhoods.

Heslinga told LaGrange officials that if this option is chosen — IDOT has yet to make a decision but one is expected by the fall — the timeline is long:

  • 18-24 months to seek Illinois Commerce Commission approval, develop plans and bid contracts
  • 12 additional months for construction

The village is asking residents to send opinions Catherine Benjamin, executive secretary, at cbenjamin@villageoflagrange.com.

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Your Turn: What do you think? Do you favor the "do-nothing" approach or would you like the village to support the traffic signal and pylon plan?

BSERIUS June 27, 2014 at 09:15 AM
maybe its time to fix Joliet Road after 20 years It seems that if funds would have been prorated along with support from the quarry owners
David Pittman June 27, 2014 at 02:05 PM
I don't live in the immediate area around this intersection, so I have a different viewpoint than the affected residents. They seem to be against every proposal floated so far, while still complaining about the current state of the intersection, which is abominable and dangerous. People, be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Offer suggestions or alternatives; don't just say, "No" with no supporting arguments.

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