Mississippi Sand workers have begun to remove houses along Route 71 east of Starved Rock State Park to prepare for construction of a silica sand mine.
The two houses that have been torn down along the highway have been empty for years.
Work on the quarry has not yet begun in part to an ongoing lawsuit filed in December 2012 against the company and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources objecting to certain state permits for the sand processing operation.
Some of the assigned permits would allow Mississippi Sand to start construction on the highway berms along the south side of Route 71, which would visually block the site of its new mining operation.
The litigation was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club.