Pete's Famous Hot Dogs and Country Restaurant's owner is as steamed as the frankfurters he sells.
"I'm sick of it!" Peter Prevenas said Tuesday, pounding his hand on a table in his restaurant at Routes 47 and 64 in Lily Lake.
Contact information ( * required )
"It" would be the disdain he perceives directed at him by the Illinois Department of Transportation. IDOT is ruining his business, he said, with a construction project that began this week.
IDOT is widening the intersection to install left-turn lanes. It is also installing a traffic signal and rebuilding Route 64 east of the intersection to fix drainage problems.
To do this, IDOT condemned part of the restaurant's land on the southwest corner to make room for the turn lanes and for temporary, five-year construction easements.
And parts of the intersection will be closed for several months at a time. Currently, Route 64 is closed from Anderson Road to Route 47. When that part of the work is done, IDOT will then close Route 47 south of Route 64. The entire project is expected to conclude in November.
But the part Prevenas thinks could kill his 40-seat restaurant is that IDOT is installing curbs at the intersection. Instead of being able to just pull off wherever they want into Pete's gravel lot -- which is flush with the road -- there will be formal entrances.
And drivers will only be able to make right turns in and out on Route 64 as there will be barriers placed to prohibit left turns.
Prevenas thinks he may lose as much as 30 percent of his business, because drivers of dump trucks and semitrailers might not be able to turn into his lot.
But Guy Tridgell, a spokesman for IDOT, says that entrance, as well as the one on Route 47, will be able to accommodate trucks.
Tridgell said the Route 64 turn restrictions are being put in place for motorists' safety. There will be a left turn lane, a through lane and a right-turn lane eastbound on Route 64, he said, and the state does not want vehicles having to cross three lanes of traffic to make a left turn.
Prevenas' business interruption insurance won't cover the loss in revenue because it is not caused by an disaster or other event that prevents him from using the space. He has asked local state legislators to change state law to require compensation for lost income.
Prevenas and the state have a May court date on the rest of the matters in the condemnation suit.
The whole situation adds fuel to Prevenas' criticism of politicians and government. The restaurant is decorated with fliers, cartoons and photos critical of President Obama and Illinois governors.
Prevenas questions the need for the traffic signal, saying he has seen few crashes.
"We're (Illinois) $16 billion in debt, and they are spending $5 million on this corner? It doesn't make any sense to me," he said.