LOCKPORT – Issues over the planned installation of a traffic signal have delayed the opening of Gougar Road despite the completion of road construction, according to Lockport City Administrator Ben Benson.
Last year, Lockport city officials announced the closure of Gougar Road and 147th Street in Lockport for five months to make way for road improvements, with construction set to end in October. Benson said construction finished on time, but the road remains closed to through traffic because of safety issues.
Officials believe a traffic signal is needed on 143rd Street at Gougar Road to keep the road safe. But several property owners in the area are not cooperating in the acquisition of property needed to put a signal there, Benson said.
Will County has filed a condemnation lawsuit in connection with the matter and the road remains closed for safety reasons, he said.
The Will County Board had an intergovernmental agreement with Lockport and ML Realty Partners LLC, developers of the road construction project, for improvements to 143rd Street at Gougar Road. On Nov. 20, the board authorized the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to proceed with the condemnation case.
“We didn’t anticipate a couple of property owners being difficult, for the lack of a better word, and unfortunately condemnation will have to be pursued,” Benson said.
The road closure has left Kate Krumdick, a Homer Glen resident who lives near Lockport, frustrated.
“It’s making me crazy because it’s the road I take all the time,” she said.
Krumdick said she typically uses Gougar to take her children to school, attend church or find a place to shop. She said she didn’t know why the road was closed when it appeared there was no construction happening. She heard road construction would be completed in October or November.
Now she takes a different path to get to downtown Lockport, but it takes longer.
“When you’re running late for preschool, it’s the extra couple of minutes that makes all the difference,” she said.
Benson said ML Realty Partners LLC has already rebuilt Gougar Road and refurbished the asphalt. He said he understands the road closure makes people frustrated, having to drive a few miles out of the way to get to their destination.
“They will have to be patient,” he said. “It’s going to be a great project once it’s completed … but if [the condemnation case] goes all the way to court, it could be closed for a long time.”
This story has been changed to clarify that Gougar Road is closed to through traffic. The Herald-News regrets the error.