Channahon to state: Help with traffic safety
BY JEANNE MILLSAP Correspondent October 10, 2013 7:32PM
Updated: November 12, 2013 6:08AM
CHANNAHON — Accidents with injuries are becoming more numerous along the stretch of Interstate 55 near the Route 6 and Bluff Road Channahon interchanges, so village officials are asking for state attention before things get worse.
Major accidents on Sunday and Monday reportedly sent 12 people to the hospital.
At Monday night’s village board meeting, trustees said more needs to be done than having state police monitor the area and having signs posted warning drivers about construction.
The village has sent a memo to state officials asking for immediate help, and state legislators have been contacted.
Channahon has been affected because residents have to be able to travel that stretch of the interstate safely, and because Channahon police officers usually are the first to arrive at the scene of the accidents, Mayor Joe Cook said Monday.
Cook also is concerned about the number of vehicles “leapfrogging” off the interstate at an interchange and then jumping back on to avoid construction traffic.
Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold brought the issue to the attention of state Sen. Pat McGuire, D-43rd, when McGuire appeared before the board last month. Wold asked whether McGuire could help reduce the speed limit on the western frontage road between Route 6 and Bluff Road during the period of construction, which is to end this winter and begin again in the spring.
Drivers are getting off the interstate at Route 6, Wold said, then jumping back on at Bluff. They are driving too fast for the frontage road, Wold said, especially since there are homes along the stretch and school buses picking up and dropping off children.
Cook said no action has been taken on the frontage road since the request.
Cook also is concerned from a traffic standpoint about future plans to do away with the I-55 Blodgett Road overpass, which would make access difficult to neighborhoods in the Quarry subdivision and to businesses west of the bridge, such as Harborside Marina and Big Fish Bar and Grille.
Cook and Wold said the Channahon Police Department serves that area, and bringing down the bridge would increase the response time to emergencies by five to seven minutes. Wold said the department continually works on reducing response time to emergencies, where even seconds can make an enormous difference. Increases in response times by more than five minutes is not acceptable, he said.