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updated: 4/25/2014 5:54 PM

Waubonsee College traffic signal turned on where 2 students killed

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  • A new traffic signal was turned on Friday for the north entrance to Waubonsee Community College's Sugar Grove campus. College officials have been pushing the state to install the signal since at least 2006, and the effort gained momentum after the 2010 deaths of two students at the entrance.

      A new traffic signal was turned on Friday for the north entrance to Waubonsee Community College's Sugar Grove campus. College officials have been pushing the state to install the signal since at least 2006, and the effort gained momentum after the 2010 deaths of two students at the entrance.
    courtesy of Waubonsee Community College

 
 

Four years after a crash on Route 47 killed two Waubonsee Community College students, the switch was flipped on for a traffic signal that college officials hope will prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.

The signal is at the north entrance to the college's main campus in Sugar Grove, at Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive/Old Oaks Road.

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"While the completion of this project is a significant milestone, we continue to feel the loss of Brandon Utley and Ryan Sherrod," Waubonsee President Christine Sobek said Friday in a statement.

Utley and Sherrod were killed April 15, 2010, when Sherrod turned left into the entrance and his car was hit by a northbound garbage truck. The speed limit on Route 47 is 55 mph.

Utley, 19, and Sherrod, 18, lived in North Aurora.

Waubonsee officials asked the state for a signal for the north entrance in 2006, when a signal was installed at the south entrance. The state said "no." It also refused Waubonsee's requests, before and after the crash, to lower the speed limit on that stretch of Route 47.

But in 2010, the Illinois Department of Transportation agreed student enrollment and traffic counts had increased to a point the northern signal was warranted.

"We remain committed to the safety of our entire college community and are thankful to have partnered with IDOT and many others, whose assistance and permission made this safety enhancement possible," Sobek said.

Turn lanes were also added to the intersection.

The project cost an estimated $1.2 million, according to an April 2014 state road construction report.

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