The tractors and trucks are marching along La Grange Road in Orland Park and Tinley Park, having forced some businesses to take down signs and motorists to await traffic snarls through the busy holiday season.
But as the Illinois Department of Transportation works on its project, estimated at more than $100 million with about $15 million kicked in for improvements by Orland Park, few homeowners have been directly impacted by the construction, an Orland Park attorney said.
"The only residences only slightly affected were the condominiums in the building on the west side of La Grange Road," village attorney Ken Friker wrote in an email. "No eminent domain proceedings were used."
Friker said all other affected properties were businesses.
But that's not to say homeowners can't be affected by some of the projects that are planned in the area. Orland Park is in various stages of engineering for some of its roads, a process that includes studying landscapes and understanding how much land would need to be seized by the state or local government through eminent domain.
One Tinley Park family's home now has a black construction fence running through its front yard ahead of the widening there. A family member there declined to comment other than to say an attorney helped them get more money from the state than initially offered to help defray the damage to their property value.
Road projects can hurt an owner's ability to sell a house after two lanes are added near the front door. Businesses can also be affected if parking lots or driveways are altered.
Bryan Lynch is an eminent domain attorney who has worked on cases for propriety owners in Orland Park and other suburbs. He said the cards can seem stacked against homeowners when the state comes to grab land for road projects.
"I think the process from my perspective is a very hard process for property owners to deal with," Lynch said. "IDOT will acquire the rights it needs to acquire. It will acquire the land it needs to acquire."
Lynch said families can get overwhelmed by the thought of battling the state or county in court proceedings. He said there are nuances to getting paid for lost land, and it's best to get help fighting to retain that value.
"I would tell you that it is absolutely important for a property owner or a business owner to obtain counsel in these things," Lynch said.
The La Grange Road widening project is scheduled to continue through 2014 with an estimated completion in summer 2015.