ELBURN – It doesn’t look like there will be a traffic light at the intersection of Route 38 and Anderson Road any time soon, even though the Illinois Department of Transportation has said it is warranted. Village President Jeff Walter announced IDOT’s response at the village’s board meeting on May 20.
According to IDOT officials, the funding to install a traffic signal at the site is not in the IDOT Fiscal Year (2019-2024) Proposed Highway Improvement Program, and IDOT has determined that it does not warrant the use of emergency funds now.
The intersection was identified by IDOT in 2018 as a high-risk intersection due to recent population growth combined with the topographical composition of the intersection affecting line of sight, resulting in a higher than average number of accidents and near misses.
In September 2018, in lieu of a traffic signal, IDOT installed amber flashing beacons on the intersection warning signs along Route 38 “to increase awareness of the intersection.”
But Elburn officials said they felt that was not enough.
According to Elburn Police Chief Nick Sikora, a look at the data showed 30 crashes at the intersection in a period of 38 months, almost one a month.
Village President Jeff Walter enlisted the help of State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, and State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, in requesting that the funding be made available. Oberweis and Wheeler sent a joint letter to IDOT’s Acting Secretary Omer Osman earlier this year, but he denied the request in early May.
“Although any number of crashes is too many, our research has determined that the frequency and severity of crashes is low compared to similar locations statewide,” Osman stated.
However, Walter said that “30 crashes in 38 months to me seems high.”
“If they think that this number of crashes in this time frame is low, you’ve got to wonder what kind of intersections do we have in this state,” he asked the following day. “How dangerous is it to drive in Illinois?”
Walter on Monday encouraged residents who share his concern about safety at Anderson and Route 38 to contact IDOT’s Acting Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman at his Springfield office by calling 217-782-5597.
Dangerous intersections are one safety hazard, while distracted drivers are increasingly hazardous to themselves and other drivers on the road, especially motorcyclists, according to DuKane ABATE (motorcycle safety, education and rights organization) President Judy Kaenel.
Elburn police officers explained at the meeting how they joined DuKane ABATE representatives, Kane County Sherriff’s Deputies, Sugar Grove police officers in a Motorcycle Awareness Day Operation to End Distracted Driving on May 4. Their goal was to make people aware that “it’s time to put the cell phones down.”
Motorcyclists and police officers stationed at the intersections of Routes 47 and 64, 47 and 38, 47 and Main Street Road and 47 and Galena Boulevard between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. observed a total of 322 texting drivers. During the three-hour timeframe, 17 tickets and seven warnings were issued.
Police Chief Nick Sikora noted that on the same day, a motorist who was texting while driving was distracted enough to end up with her car in a ditch off of Anderson Road, just south of Hicks Road.