Flooding leaves some families at crossroads
BY STEVE METSCH AND SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org April 19, 2013 10:44AM
Updated: May 22, 2013 6:37AM
Just before noon Friday, as water from the DuPage River crept within 6 inches of their Plainfield house, Judi Medveskas said her family was at a crossroads.
“We’re distraught,” she said. “We’re like, ‘Place your bet: Are we going to go? Are we not going to go?’ ”
Medveskas said friends on Thursday had helped her and her husband, Joe, move most of their possessions out of their home next to the DuPage River at Renwick and River roads.
That was after they helped a woman renting a house on their property closer to the river escape the deluge with a bag of clothes and her pets.
“The water was rising so fast you couldn’t believe it,” Judi Medveskas said Friday. “It was like filling up a bathtub. It’s never come up this fast before.”
Many streets remained closed in Plainfield on Friday morning, including Route 59 between Lockport Street and 143rd Street.
By noon, Route 59 was open, which helped break up the traffic jam in the downtown area.
Plainfield Deputy Fire Chief Jon Stratton said firefighters had to help five people out of their vehicles about 5 a.m. Friday after they drove into standing water on 135th Street east of Route 59.
“The first car was in up to its hood. Then four cars went in after it,” Stratton said.
Not only does the department caution against driving into standing water, Stratton advised boaters to stay off the river Friday.
The water level is high and it’s rushing quickly, he said. In a lot of places there is little to no clearance under bridges.
The village of Shorewood fared well overnight Thursday, Troy Fire Chief Steve Engledow said.
“We’ve had some people evacuated, but very few,” Engledow said Friday. “We’re doing pretty good.”
Lockport police reported Friday that there were no flooding problems in the city.
Many roads still closed
Thursday’s deluge was Friday’s headache for many drivers as several roads remained closed or flooded throughout the Southland and Joliet areas.
Illinois State Police said closed roads in Will County as of Friday morning included U.S. 52 at Gallagher and Gougar roads, New Avenue between 127th and 135th streets, Route 6 from 187th Street to Will-Cook Road, Caton Farm Road between Von Esch and Bronk roads, Seil Road between I-55 and River, Cedar Road and Manhattan Road.
Southbound Interstate 55 was closed just north of Route 6, between I-80 and Route 6, with traffic being rerouted onto I-80. Northbound I-55 was closed between I-80 and Route 6, with traffic being rerouted onto Route 6.
Many roads were open but had standing water and police warned motorists to use caution.
In Grundy County, Bell Road was closed west of Ridge Road, and East River Road was closed at Blodgett Road.
In Orland Park, as of 11:30 a.m. Friday, Southwest Highway was closed from 131st to 135th streets; Will-Cook Road was closed from Westbrook Drive to 167th Street; and 143rd Street was closed west of Wolf Road near Creek Crossing.
The Orland Park Police Department strongly cautions drivers to not drive around or remove barricades from blocked roadways, it said in a news release.
“We’ve had reports of people moving the barricades to drive down closed streets,” Orland Park village spokesman Joe La Margo said in the release. “This is highly dangerous, both because drivers don’t know how deep the water is and they’re also putting emergency workers who will have to respond in danger.”
Meanwhile, debris was being cleaned up at Morris Hospital, which had to be evacuated Thursday because of flooding.
For more road condition information, call (800) 452-4368 or visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com.
Contributing: Janet Lundquist