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Road in Chicago's west suburbs remains closed months after house explosion

Suburban Chicago road still closed months after house explosion
Suburban Chicago road still closed months after house explosion 02:52

LISLE, Ill. (CBS) -- We told you about a home explosion in west suburban Lisle back in July – in which fortunately, no one was hurt or killed.

But five months later, the street where the home once stood is still closed - and as a main thoroughfare, the people living in surrounding neighborhoods are reaching CBS 2 calling the resulting traffic unbearable.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, the home explosion on Saturday, July 1, was caught on video. It happened in the 4500 block of Ivanhoe Avenue in unincorporated Lisle.

The explosion sent a huge plume of smoke in the air and debris raining down on houses nearby – the force breaking windows and pushing in garage doors. 

People who live in the area haven't been able to forget – and not just because of the piles of debris still there.

"The cars just continuously, one after another," said concerned resident Tony Milazzo. "The residents know there's been an increase."

The problem, Milazzo said, is that Ivanhoe Avenue is a connecting route between two major east-west thoroughfares.

"This is main access from Ogden Avenue down to Warrenville Road," he said.

But Ivanhoe Avenue is still closed, and Milazzo said surrounding neighborhoods are hearing the brunt.

"Amazon, semi-trucks coming through the area," he said.

Milazzo says he was one of hundreds at a meeting hosted by the highway commissioner for the Lisle Township Road District on Nov. 2. In a letter sent afterward, Lisle Township Highway Commissioner Ed Young wrote: "I do not have a date to re-open Ivanhoe. There are aspects of the devastating house explosion occurrence in July that need to be resolved prior to my being able to make that decision."

In the letter, Young advised that people should watch the website for the Lisle Township Road District in the coming months for an announcement on another meeting, and emphasized that additional studies would be taking place on the road – which would take time.  

"I agree it had to be closed off. There was debris everywhere. There was debris almost half a mile away," Milagro said. "once it was cleaned up, fenced off, there was no reason to keep this road closed off. But they're keeping it closed."

And, we learned, not everyone wants the road to reopen.

"Oh my gosh. We are safe. I feel safe," said Aileen Eilert, who has lived on the now-closed street for 17 years. "It's inconvenient for us, but we don't care."

She said the traffic on Ivanhoe Avenue was out of control before it was closed off.

"Pets have been killed on our street," Eilert said. "People have hit me. I try to turn into my driveway and people hit me."

But Milazzo said the fact that Ivanhoe Avenue got a lot of traffic should not have been a surprise to anyone who chose to live on it.

"The people that bought the houses on this roadway knew that this was a roadway that went from one main road to another main road," he said.

Molina reached the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, the Village of Lisle and the Lisle Township Highway Commissioner with the concerns we've heard.

The DuPage County Sheriff's office said they would look into the concerns. Molina was told it is the Lisle Township highway commissioner who has the ultimate authority and determination on Ivanhoe Avenue.

The Lisle village manager noted that Ivanhoe Avenue falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's office and Lisle Township rather than the Village of Lisle. While some sections of Ivanhoe Avenue run through the Village of Lisle proper, most of the road runs through an unincorporated section of Lisle Township.

Late Friday, we were still waiting on more information from the highway commissioner, and we will update this story if and when they respond to our requests. 

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