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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Pilsen, Chinatown Won’t Get Alleys Repaired This Year Due To Strike That Slowed Concrete Production

The delay in fulfilling work requests, which is also expected to affect sidewalks, is a citywide issue. But Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez said his ward has alleys and sidewalks that have long needed repairs.

Businesses and buildings along 18th Street in Pilsen on March 29, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — Pilsen, Chinatown and other 25th Ward neighborhoods will have to wait until spring for alley repairs, the area’s alderman told residents.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said the city’s Department of Transportation leaders told him the significant delay in repairs is due to a now-ended strike affecting the production of asphalt, concrete and other building materials. Work requests on alleys will be pushed until the spring, but some sidewalk repairs could be made this year based on priority and if the weather permits, according to his office.

Around 300 members of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 walked off the job June 7, alleging unfair labor practices against Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials and Lafarge Holcim. The strike is now over, but the delays remain due to loss of time, Sigcho-Lopez said.

A spokesperson with the Chicago Department of Transportation confirmed the impact is citywide but couldn’t provide specifics on how each ward will be affected.

“CDOT crews and contractors are working hard to make up for lost time and are out in full force resurfacing streets and alleys, repairing sidewalks, and completing other capital improvement projects in every Chicago neighborhood,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

RELATED: Milwaukee Avenue Resurfacing Kicks Off In Wicker Park After Quarry Workers Strike Led To Delay

Sigcho-Lopez said even though the impact will be felt across the city, his ward is particularly affected by how badly some sidewalks and alleys need repairs.

“Our communities have long been last in line for necessary infrastructure improvements, to the point where roads and alleys are unsafe,” he wrote in an email to his constituents.

Sigcho-Lopez said his office has work requests that residents have long been waiting to be filled.

“We had a huge line of requests that we inherited,” he said. “We should not be begging for these infrastructure improvements.”

While work on alleys and sidewalks is stalled, Sigcho-Lopez said he’s looking into whether other projects can be done in the meantime, including bike and pedestrian improvements along 16th Street.

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