MONTROSE, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose (R – Mahomet) and Illinois State Representative Adam Niemerg (R – Teutopolis) held a press conference Friday unveiling legislation they filed Friday morning to improve safety during road closures.
“Everybody in Effingham County will tell you, that the accident that happened three weeks ago in Teutopolis was a direct result of the construction on interstate 70.”
Niemerg said last spring he began the process of trying to have conversations with state administrative officials regarding issues on interstate 70. Niemerg said those questions were mostly met with silence.
“And then frustration on my behalf because we had wreck after wreck after wreck on interstate 70 because traffic was constantly routed on to 40 here,” Niemerg said. “Everybody I talked to said it was just a matter of time. We saw this coming. This is terrible. What is going on with IDOT? What’s going on with Springfield? And that’s where my frustrations boil over,” he added.
Those frustrations are now in the form of proposed legislation to improve driver safety during road construction. The proposed legislation would limit the ability to close parallel roads at the same time.
“Except in the case of an emergency, you know, a bridge out or something like that, IDOT can’t put both 70 and 40 under construction at the same time,” Rose said.
The legislation also requires updates detour information in GPS and mapping services.
“How many of you people use your GPS service on your phone? When there is an accident, the phones start routing people to places they have no business being,” Rose asked.
Senator Rose said the proposal would require GPS to use detours provided by Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police to ensure the safest detour possible. In real time. By requiring providers like Apple and Google Maps to have someone on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Something Hannah Will, a local says would make a positive difference, “If they did that and they saw that there was a wreck, they could prematurely detour people, that would do a lot actually. That would be great.”
And finally, the legislation would require reimbursement of damages to local roads due to state detours. Senator Rose said of the 14 counties he represents; all have expressed concerns over damage to roads due to state detours. Like Arbuckle Road in Clark County.
“One of the routes, Arbuckle Road, over in the Clark side was just completely torn up. IDOT has agreed to pay the cost of repairing that road,” Rose said.
Rose said IDOT has pledged to work with all of the local counties impacted over the winter in preparation for the spring construction season.
The lawmakers are calling for the general assembly to take up the new bill during the upcoming spring legislative session. Niemerg said he’s started conversations with both sides of the aisle with support of the measures.