New Lenox water main break delays Metra riders
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent February 14, 2014 3:13PM
Church Street between Haven Avenue and Route 30 in New Lenox declines to the north, causing the water to flow down hill into the main entrance of the Metra Station. | Erin Gallagher~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:12AM
Many commuters missed their train Friday morning at the Metra station on Church Street in New Lenox when icy conditions from a water main break near the station’s main entrance caused traffic delays, village officials said.
The break occurred about 6 a.m. on Church Street between U.S. 30 and Haven Avenue, and the street inclines to the south, causing the water to flow north down toward U.S. 30 and the station, according to village administrator Kurt Carroll.
The station, which serves Metra’s Rock Island Line, has two entrances, both on the U.S. 30 side, and the water main break blocked the eastern entrance.
One commuter who lives about a half mile from the station, Kelli Ogrodnik, said it took her nearly 10 minutes to get into the parking lot when it ordinarily takes one or two. Drivers frantic to make trains don’t always make the safest decisions, she said.
“At the point I was there at 7:20 a.m., there was no one directing traffic at all,” Ogrodnik said, describing her several attempts to get through the “chaotic” traffic. “There was a lot of confusion because no one knew what was going on — it was a disaster.”
Carroll said there was no damage to homes or businesses. The village spread salt and broke up the ice quickly, and the break was closed off by 10:20 a.m., he said.
Carroll said the water main is one of the older lines in New Lenox, and the extreme weather, fluctuating temperatures and ground movement on that hill are likely causes for the break.
“I’m happy with the work our people did,” Mayor Tim Baldermann said. “It’s just unfortunate that it impacts not only Route 30 traffic but Metra riders.”