Police: Slow down in construction zones

A string of deadly crashes leads to increased security measures in an I-55 construction zone. (WICS)

A string of deadly crashes leads to increased security measures in an I-55 construction zone.

It’s one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

“Drive safe, pay attention, watch the signs,” said Adam Bailey, a Texas resident driving through Illinois for the holidays.

To ensure you make it to your destination and construction workers make it home, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is asking you to slow down.

The construction site located on I-55 between Hamel and Illinois 143 has seen several accidents.

At least two have resulted in fatalities.

Senator Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, requested IDOT review the work zone to determine what can be done to minimize crashes and improve safety.

“People should make sure they slow up and follow posted speeds, but sometimes you have to drive a lot slower,” Glen Carbon resident Dave Davenport said.

Following the first fatal accident at the I-55 construction site, IDOT installed additional signage and rumble strips to alert motorists to the upcoming work zone.

State police are also getting federal grant money from IDOT to station troopers out there.

“Construction workers will tell us they will know when we leave the zone just to get something as simple as gas or a bite to eat they will say that all the cars are back to speeding up,” said Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. with the Illinois State Police.

Trooper Dye said they started that patrol on Thanksgiving.

“By December 31, the last day of the year, we will have had 500 hours worth of manpower out there on Interstate 55 in that construction zone area,” Dye said.

Patrols include troopers observing traffic with their lights on and photo enforcement vehicles.

No matter what road you’re on, police reminded drivers to pay attention. They said avoid texting and keep conversations with passengers to a minimum.

The Illinois Department of Transportation released the following statement in regards to traveling through work zones:

The Illinois Department of Transportation puts work zone safety as a top priority throughout the year. Part of this effort involves working with multiple partners, including the various trucking associations, to help get out the word that any work zone represents a potentially dangerous situation. We continue to monitor all of our work zones to see if any improvements or safety enhancements can be made during the course of all projects. We urge the public to slow down, avoid all distractions and pay extra attention when approaching and traveling through our work zones. It’s an important message that cannot be reinforced enough.
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