Businesses near crash site facing uncertainty
Updated: August 13, 2012 1:11PM
GLENVIEW — The six Shermer Road businesses just south of Willow Road in Glenview have seen fewer walk-in customers since a coal train wreck on the Fourth of July led to the death of two residents.
Burton Lindner, 69, and Zorine Lindner, 70, died when a Union Pacific freight train derailed onto the Shermer Road viaduct, causing it to fall and flatten the married couple’s black Lexus at the Glenview-Northbrook border.
Since then, the road intersecting with busy four-lane Willow Road has been closed during the investigation, cleanup and rebuilding of the temporary bridge.
Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis said a new bridge will be ready in two months.
Still, business owners on the Wil-Sher Shopping Plaza said Monday they were not confident Shermer Road would reopen by then.
They recalled the Nov. 1, 2009, derailment at the same location that closed the road for about two months.
In addition, the road was closed last summer for 3 ½ months while Union Pacific repaired the bridge’s concrete abutments and rails.
“My customers from Glenview are not coming here. Last week’s accident is so sad for the people,” said Young Shin, a Glenview resident and owner of Willow Cleaners laundry service for 20 years.
She said the store’s usual weekly income was $3,500, but now the sum was about half.
“Making our lease payment will not be easy,” Shin said. “Business is down.”
Lunchtime customers at Marios’ Pizza were asking owner Daniel Goodman about the tragedy.
Mario’s Pizza was closed for the July Fourth holiday when many people typically prefer cooking out, Goodman said.
“With all the police, fire and heavy equipment trucks out there on Shermer, we closed early at noon Friday and Saturday. People see the road barricades and leave,” he said. “Believe me, it was like a war zone out here for days. People don’t understand how this can happen within a three-year separation.
“It’s scary and you might have seen more fatalities had this happened on a prime-time business day,” Goodman said.
Cindy and Judd Hackl have owned Wiggly Tails dog daycare center south of the Shermer Road bridge since 2004.
Judd said they cared for 55 dogs a day, but were down to 30 on Monday.
“Half of our business is from Northbrook, so those customers can’t get here. They’re wary of the turnaround, so it may take time to get used to for them,” Judd said.
Judd did not ask to be compensated from Union Pacific for lost business last summer during repairs.
“But last week’s accident, I feel, was negligence. I called Union Pacific today and got nowhere. Just bounced around. I have no idea whom to contact,” Judd said.