Chicago Alderman Blocks Northwest Side Construction After Plans Enrage Residents, Drivers

A North Side Chicago alderman parked his car in front of a bulldozer Monday morning to stop construction on a street in his ward.

Ald. John Arena (45th) said no one from the city contacted him about a construction project that would permanently close a stretch of a road at Wilson and Lamon.

Arena said the road helps relieve traffic congestion from Lawrence and Cicero, where traffic often gets backed up.

The construction project is being done to put up a digital billboard sign.

“It’s not going to be closed,” Arena said. “Not for a billboard.”

Arena has called for a meeting with the mayor’s office, the construction company and the department of transportation to “explain why they would come in the cover of darkness and tear up one of our streets without due process.”

Arena said the city has apologized for not contacting him or area residents before beginning the project.

The Chicago Department of Transportation said the changes are intended to “enhance safety on Lamon Street” and to “accommodate the placement of a digital sign.”

CDOT said the sign was approved by City Council in 2013.

“These changes will address the speeding problem, eliminate crashes from cars that lose control at the curve from Lamon to Wilson, and reduce the number of trucks that strike the low-clearance viaduct on Wilson,” the department said in a statement.

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