LINCOLN PARK — A truck jammed for five hours under a viaduct at the North Avenue exit off the Kennedy Expy. has set off a round of new complaints against the General Iron scrap yard.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) blamed Thursday's truck mishap, which snarled traffic in all directions for hours and caused a backup onto the Kennedy, on a semi headed for the General Iron scrap yard at 1909 N. Clifton Ave.
"This has happened repeatedly," Hopkins said, at least four times this year alone. He added that he has urged the Chicago Department of Transportation to improve signs on the low viaducts, which are just less than 13 feet at the North Avenue exit, perhaps with a flashing warning sign.
According to Hopkins, 300 trucks a day use the General Iron driveway off North Avenue, and the latest truck jam prompted him to renew calls to have that driveway closed. He submitted a proposal on that in October, and that measure remains under consideration in the City Council's Transportation Committee.
"That driveway needs to be closed, and those trucks need to be relocated," Hopkins said,
Hopkins said the transportation department has supported closing the driveway, which tends also to block traffic on North Avenue, "but for whatever reason I just can't get anything done here."
Hopkins called another General Iron driveway off Cortland Avenue to the north "a better alternative, but ultimately the solution needs to be that they have to relocate."
"It's not an appropriate location for a junkyard of that magnitude," he said.
Adam Labkon, one of the owners of General Iron, did not respond to requests for comment.
"I've been very critical of General Iron for a while now, and this is just another chapter in the saga," Hopkins said. "Explosions, fires, traffic jams, toxic emissions — you name it."
General Iron was briefly shut down by the city earlier this year. It has faced growing resistance from neighbors and politicians, including Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) as well as Hopkins.
"It's a hazardous situation," Hopkins said. "It really needs to be corrected."
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