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Endless construction hurting Northwest Side businesses, owners say

CHICAGO — Several simultaneous construction projects have Northwest Side residents fuming about a construction season that started at the beginning of the year and has no end in sight.

"It's definitely a construction crisis," said Laura Guenther, owner of Local Goods Chicago, 5422 W. Devon Ave. "It's just like: When is it going to end?"

Joanna Nusbaum, who owns My Sister's Closet at 5413 W. Devon Ave., said she's lost 30 percent of business over the last seven months due to ongoing and overlapping construction projects along Devon Avenue.

Crews are replacing century-old sewer lines under the busy street.

The work was supposed to be done last month, but was delayed when workers found a fiber optic cable beneath Metra tracks — and had to figure out a way around it.

"Now the projected date is November," Nusbaum said.

Just about everywhere you turn in Edgebrook, there are closed sidewalks and signs that say "Road Construction Ahead" or "Local Access Only." Big trucks rumble; cement mixers churn; drivers impatiently sit in stand-still traffic.

All the while, businesses like Guenther's are struggling.

“Everyone avoids the whole neighborhood," she said, noting that the situation is unsustainable.

Residential streets feel the impact, too. Several sewer lines were replaced, and now crews are working on gas lines.

"It's project on top of project," resident Dave Daugherty said.

"You kind of feel like you're on your own little island," resident Glenna Murphy said. "Every street is under construction."

"It's very frustrating to get here," Nusbaum said. "It can take a half hour, maybe longer, because [the construction crews] are on so many different streets all at the same time. It is a challenge."

The business district is represented by two Chicago aldermen, who said they're working with businesses to arrange a block party to bring people to the Devon corridor.