LaGrange and Brookfield residents who comprise the Community Advisory Group of the 47th Street at East Avenue Study Project being conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation will meet for the second time on Wednesday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to noon at the LaGrange Park District Building, 536 East Ave. in LaGrange.

IDOT is conducting its Phase I preliminary engineering study to determine a solution for the intersection of 47th Street and East Avenue, which is a traffic choke point since the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad tracks arc across both streets and cause backups in all directions when a train is passing through. In addition, the intersection is controlled only by stop signs, which slows traffic and can create dangerous situations when motorists get impatient.

In February IDOT identified a group of local residents from the villages that border the intersection. That group met for the first time in March. While the Community Advisory Group meetings don’t allow for input from members of the general public, anyone is free to attend and observe the meetings, according to Ojas Patel, who is IDOT’s project manager for the study.

Things are still very early in the process, and Phase I is not expected to wrap up until June 2015. Phases II (design) and III (construction) are not even on the calendar yet.

The purpose of the May 29 meeting will be for the Citizens Advisory Group to draft a “purpose and needs statement” for the study. Once that statement has been agreed upon by the citizens’ group, IDOT and federal highway authorities, only then will potential solutions be explored.

“It really helps define why we’re doing the project and keep alternatives on track,” said Patel.

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