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posted: 6/25/2010 12:01 AM

Roadwork puts choke hold on Antioch businesses

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  • Route 83 going is down to one lane through downtown Antioch for a widening and resurfacing project. Many local businesses are complaining customers are avoiding their stores because of traffic delays.

      Route 83 going is down to one lane through downtown Antioch for a widening and resurfacing project. Many local businesses are complaining customers are avoiding their stores because of traffic delays.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

The usually quaint streets of downtown Antioch are filled with bulldozers, traffic flaggers, car jams stretching for miles, and local businesses feeling the effects.

With three major streets in the area undergoing facelifts, traffic backups have residents questioning why all the projects are under way at the same time.

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Las Vegas Restaurant, which is on Main Street, has been feeding fewer customers than normal because of the construction, said co-owner Hellen Chiappetta.

"I think people are avoiding coming into town when they are working on the roads," she said. "If people don't have to come into town, they don't."

Route 83, which runs through town, is undergoing widening and resurfacing work that has whittled sections down to one lane. A stretch of North Avenue is closed to thru traffic because of widening and reconstruction. The detour route is construction-riddled Route 83.

And, Deep Lake Road won't work as a north-south alternative to Route 83 because of resurfacing set to begin there in early July.

But there's more.

The village is about to start three new road projects, after giving out contracts totaling about $1.2 million on Monday. The one with the most impact involves resurfacing on North Avenue between Route 83 and Tiffany Road.

Mike Baird, a disgruntled Antioch resident, said he is disappointed with the planning involved. He questioned the need to have the main roads under construction at the same time.

"I had to drive three miles and go through three flaggers to visit relatives 200 yards away," Baird said. "It took about 20 minutes to go where I could walk in 10. I should have walked."

Village and county officials said they tried to plan the timing for the projects more conveniently, but the federal and state grants were time restrictive.

"The north-south route is going to be clobbered," village Trustee Dennis Crosby said. "Another way to look at this is the money is there. The need is there. It's time to get it done."

Although Chiappetta is not happy about the affect on her business, she said she doesn't blame the village.

"The town has been really supportive with signs showing where additional parking is, but I don't ever recall this being so long," she added.

Mayor Larry Hanson said he is pleased the village was able to get all of the projects accomplished this year, and thinks it will be worth it in the end.

"The major arteries coming into the community will be fresh: North Avenue and Route 83," Hanson said.

With the estimated finishing dates stretching until late October or early November for Route 83 construction, Chiappetta said she has never seen traffic in the village backed up to this extent.

"I think that's why this is such a shock for us," she said.

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