New safety precautions in place on Edens Spur

June 17, 2008 9:48:52 PM PDT
A series of accidents on the Edens Spur has triggered new safety precautions.Two people were killed and 30 injured in eight different crashes over the past three weeks..

It was a horrific crash scene. A semi truck plowed at full speed into stopped traffic. It started a chain reaction that involved at least nine vehicles. At least ten people were injured, one killed. State police say it was simply a matter of driver error. The truck driver failed to slow down.

But this was just the latest of a number of serious crashes in the last few weeks. And Northbrook village officials believe it's because drivers on the eastbound Edens Spur fail to realize traffic ahead is stopped because of construction.

"The trucks are flying, there's not enough time to stop and that's what's caused a lot of the major accidents," said Gene Marks, Northbrook Village President.

The village has been working with state police as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation and tollway authorities to come up with solutions. They are considering narrowing traffic to one lane further up the spur to make drivers slow down sooner.

In the meantime, they have already added signs warning of stopped traffic ahead. They have put up additional barricades. They've also increased state police patrols and lowered the speed limit to 45 mph ahead of the work zone, where a first offense is a $375 fine.

"This has been a concern and IDOT has been working with the tollway and with Illinois State Police for the last several weeks basically to increase enforcement," said Mike Claffey, IDOT spokesperson.

Northbrook village officials say they are hoping it makes a difference. The numerous crashes along the spur have put a strain on their fire and ambulance personnel.

"It's definitely a state road, but it's our fire response so we have to be very proactive on it," said Marks.

While IDOT and the tollway authority work out long-term solutions to try to prevent more deadly accidents, they say the best thing driver can do is simply slow down.


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