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High winds force closure of downtown Evanston streets

Evanston emergency personnel this afternoon have closed off parts of Evanston’s downtown to vehicle traffic and pedestrians.

Church Street at Orrington Avenue was one of several downtown streets police closed off. (Bill Smith photo)

Construction debris from the Sherman Plaza development has created dangerous conditions with falling and flying materials. Police say one person has been struck by debris and has been treated and released. Cars have also been hit by falling rubble.

Evanston police, fire and emergency management personnel have secured the following perimeter: Church from Orrington Avenue to Maple; Benson from Church to Davis Streets; Davis Street between the train tracks and Sherman Avenue; and Sherman avenue is closed from Clark to Davis Streets. Visitors to Evanston’s downtown are asked to avoid this area until the strong winds subside and emergency personnel release the area.

Plastic sheeting was ripped from its framework on some openings of the Sherman Plaza high rise.

“One of the problems,” said Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky, “is that the winds are so dangerous and high that construction workers cannot even get to the top of the project to secure the materials.”

He continued, “And the materials that already have been secured are not holding.”

“We realize this is an inconvenience to businesses and residents of our downtown,” Chief of Police Frank Kaminski said. “Our first concern is keeping everyone safe.”

“We ask everyone to take precautions during these high winds and to please cooperate until the situation is under control,” Chief Kaminski said.

Sherman Avenue from Clark to Davis was nearly deserted as officials blocked traffic to try to avoid any more injuries should more debris blow off the Sherman Plaza construction site.

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