WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Three million dollars in state grants are headed to Washington to realign a troublesome intersection at Nofsinger Rd. and Route 24, in addition to $4 million in federal funds granted in October.
There have been five fatalities in the past 20 years at the intersection. In the past five years, there have been more than 70 crashes.
“We’ve been trying since 2013 to redo that intersection,” said Washington Mayor Gary Manier. “I know a lot of people that live over there and they say don’t ever drive that intersection.”
Washington Deputy Chief of Police Jeff Stevens said the curved nature of the bypass is what makes the intersection so dangerous.
“The normal crashes there are crossing crashes, somebody trying to cross one or both of those roadways and just misjudging the speed of vehicles…Or you just don’t see them because the intersection configuration isn’t your standard 90 degrees,” he said.
Speeding is also a major issue.
“The speed limit there is 55 and exceeding that is problematic. It’s normal for us to stop people doing 75, 85, more than that,” said Stevens.
Nearby residential development of 400 homes has also increased traffic. Stevens said at least 3,000 cars cross the intersection every day.
“The population of Washington north of the bypass is growing. Those neighborhoods grow, and that just puts more people crossing back and forth,” he said.
Reconstruction plans include a new signalized intersection and realigned road. The new road will connect with Santa Fe Road to the north and Dallas Road to the south.
“What we’re hoping, is having that four-way stop, those protected left turns, is going to really reduce on some of these crossing crashes. The reconfiguration of the intersection, making that more like a 90 degree intersection should help with driver visibility,” said Stevens.
Now that state funds are involved, Manier said design plans must meet IDOT standards. Bids will be accepted in August, and construction is expected to commence in the fall.