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What's Going On With The Argyle Streetscape Project?

By Josh McGhee | August 18, 2015 5:44am
 Some business owners said they haven't seen workers in over a week.
Some business owners said they haven't seen workers in over a week.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — Though officials say the Argyle Streetscape is on schedule so far, some business owners say there's been no work done on the project in over a week — and they're sweating it.

"They came and ripped up the ground Monday through Wednesday then there was inactivity for the longest time," said Ellen Duong, a business owner along Argyle. "I was wondering what was going."

Duong said she has seen only a few workers since the project began, none in the last week; but when she went to the weekly meeting Wednesday she was told the project was still on time.

At the meeting, she was told some of the materials being removed were contaminated, which had halted work, she said.

Last week, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said via email that construction on the North Side of the street from the CTA stop to Winthrop will be put on hold for now to allow access to the station. On Friday, he said the construction including full excavating and framing the curbs will continue this week. Installation of curbs will begin Wednesday weather permitting, he said.

Emails from Osterman directed questions or concerns to "the contractor for the project, Speedy Gonzales, at the onsite office or the 48th Ward Alderman's Office at 773-784-5277."

Speedy Gonzales, the contractor for the project, referred all questions about contaminated materials and the construction timeline to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for CDOT, said the material was removed appropriately and the project was not delayed. The on-site office was closed Friday afternoon.

In earlier reports, Osterman said workers would work from 8 a.m. to either 6 or 8 p.m., and the alderman was considering allowing them to work later. But there were no workers on Argyle when DNAinfo visited the site Thursday and Friday afternoon.

Osterman also said that while he doesn't "want [crews] to leave it looking crappy," the construction is very involved, and includes ripping up the sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

"We're digging up the entire street, so it's going to be a mess. It's going to be dirty and dingy," Osterman said.

But Duong says that's exactly what's happening outside her shop. As a result, she says she watches hours pass without seeing any customers or workers on the street.

"Hours can go by without any interaction," said Duong, adding in order to enjoy the new Streetscape, businesses have to survive the construction period, which will be put on hold in November.

Duong isn't alone — a number of businesses said the construction was slowing down business.

"Well it's taking a long time. It's going to take more than a year," said Tam Loc, an employee of Myhoa Hair and Skin Care. "The only problem is there is no parking, but if you want it to look good it takes time. And we got no choice."

The alderman could not be reached for comment. A public meeting to discuss the project will be held Wednesday at the onsite office, 4956 N. Sheridan Road, at 9 a.m.

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