Traffic concerns follow new two-way Oak Street bridge in Hinsdale
During a public hearing March 12, resident Jerry Hughes questions an IDOT official about the width of the bridge that will replace the one-way one-lane Oak Street Bridge in Hinsdale.
Updated: May 20, 2013 2:18AM
HINSDALE — Residents at Tuesday’s public hearing on the new Oak Street Bridge wanted a guarantee the village would install traffic control measures if more traffic results from the two-way design.
They got assurances, although perhaps not as specific as they wanted.
People who live in the area are afraid with smoother traffic flow over the railroad on Oak, more drivers will take Walnut Street, Chicago Avenue or County Line Road as arterials.
Going from a one-way, one-lane bridge to a two-way, two-lane crossing undoubtedly will attract more cars to the area.
What traffic increase do you expect?” asked Will Johns.
Village officials said they don’t have a study that predicts the number of additional vehicles.
“There’s a lot of variables specific to that location,” Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom said.
“It will be a matter of behavior, rather than traffic counts,” Village Trustee Donna LaPlaca said.
Another resident asked village officials to set a percentage of increase, which if surpassed would result in traffic signals or controls, such as prohibiting left turns on side streets in the area.
LaPlaca said it would be premature to impose traffic flow restrictions in anticipation of more cars using the new bridge, “without knowing where the traffic might be coming from.”
“We felt like we could not correctly predict what those potential problems might be,” LaPlaca said.
Instead, village officials will monitor vehicle movement for several months after the new bridge is opened.
The Police Department will react more quickly “if it looks like there’s a problem right away,” she said.
“I can envision a solid line of traffic (on Oak) during rush hour,” said Ed James.
Someone coming north on Oak and wanting to turn left into the hospital will have to wait for a driver to let them cross, James said.
People exiting the hospital, too, will have a hard time getting onto Oak.”
“I don’t think we are going to have queues,” Bloom said.
Construction will start in 2015 and take 12 to 15 months to complete.