The second phase of the Kennedy Expressway construction may be ahead of schedule and on budget, but some nearby business owners are focused on its impact on their bottom line.
“You can says yes and no because when the traffic was tight, it made people not really want to stop because it became hectic, and then when it lightens up they may pull over and come in,” said Tommy Samuels, Manager at Helendora Samuels Picture Framing in River West.
Samuels said that the traffic flow is unusual and his business flow has been unpredictable since the Kennedy construction project started last weekend.
“We’re thankful that it’s just the weekend, so you know we’re just going with the flow,” said Samuels.
“It’s just people aren’t coming in,” said Joe Swiatek, owner of Imperial Hardware in River West.
In an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis, Swiatek called the traffic horrendous.
“Can’t find places to park and it’s just hurting business a lot,” said Swiatek.
“As a small business owner you need people to come through the door and spend money and they’re not spending money, so it’s been a very slow day today, I’m sure for everybody on the block,” said Swiatek.
The Illinois Department of Transportation called this weekend’s detours a different type of animal due to massive diversions of Westbound I-90/94 onto Eastbound Ohio Street.
“Last weekend went really well. People listened, they stayed away. Traffic volumes were down 33%, basically in both directions. Again, please, if you don’t need to be on the Kennedy, don’t get on the Kennedy this weekend,” said Tony Quigley, an IDOT Engineer.
Swiatek said that the shorted construction scheduled did provide some comfort.
“I certainly hope so. I mean, they couldn’t move it up fast enough for me as far as I’m concerned,” said Swiatek.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said that the demolition of the remaining section of the Ontario Street Bridge is moving along as scheduled. No major incidents reported, though, delays are expected throughout the remainder of the project.