A two-year project to expand parts of Route 59 will cost the state more than $50 million but may also prove costly for businesses in that area.
On average more than 50,000 vehicles travel along the Route 59 corridor through Naperville and Aurora every day.
“We see over 400 accidents each year along the corridor so the goal of the Route 59 improvements is to increase traffic flow and safety along the corridor,” said Jennifer Louden, the city’s project manager.
Those improvements include one additional lane in each direction, retimed traffic signals, additional turn lanes at key intersections, and the installation of sidewalks wherever possible, plus a diverging diamond configuration to replace the current I-88 interchange.
“During those two years of construction, we do expect there to be delays cause there are going to be lane closures,” said Louden.
And that could mean fewer customers visiting the various businesses nearby.
Edmond Feka, owner of Adamos Pizza, thinks the construction will cause “irreversible damage” to his delivery service.
“Certain customers that are accustomed to a 45-minute delivery might not want to wait an hour, an hour-fifteen for delivery so there might be some customer loss,” Feka said.
Other business owners, like Cheryl Flowers of Happy Feet, aren’t so happy either.
“We depend on our traffic here at Route 59 to bring us business and we do advertise but our concern is that with the impending, upcoming construction, it might slow down our traffic that comes inside our doors,” said Flowers.
Mary Calderon has her share of concerns too but sees the long-term benefits of having an extra lane of cars drive by her family-owned restaurant, The Jalapeno Grille.
“I’m excited about when it’s happening and when it’s going to be over,” said Calderon. “I think it’s going to be good for business. I know that it would pick up our dinner business, maybe our weekend business.”
In an effort to assist businesses during this time, the city council is allowing temporary signage beyond what the municipal code typically allows, to help business owner keep their establishments visible throughout the two-year project.
Construction is expected to begin some time in August. The city will keep up-to-date information throughout the project on its website, www.naperville.il.us.
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