Traffic signal at perilous Wheaton crossing gets green light

A long-sought traffic light for a hazardous stretch of Roosevelt Road in Wheaton will became a reality, advocates confirmed.

“The resources are there, and we’re moving on to the next stage,” state Sen. Seth Lewis said. “It’s fantastic news.”

The Bartlett Republican, who sponsored legislation this spring to pay for the light, said Monday that $250,000 had been allocated by the state. Coupled with funds raised by St. Francis High School, there’s now enough revenues to proceed with the project, which will cost about $838,000, officials said.

High school leaders and residents contend a traffic signal is essential to prevent crashes in the area, just east of County Farm Road.

“This funding and the installation of a traffic signal will make a huge difference in our community, providing a much-needed sense of safety and security for all of us who cross Roosevelt Road daily,” said Debbie Suggs, a longtime resident of Marian Park Apartments and member of DuPage United, which advocated for the improvement.

From 2009 through 2023, nine pedestrian crashes occurred in the vicinity, state and city authorities said. One person was killed and eight suffered injuries.

It’s a busy corridor with a Target, shops and restaurants on the north side of Roosevelt across from the school and homes.

About 1,900 cars an hour pass by the school, which equals about 32 cars a minute, St. Francis President Phil Kerr said, citing state data.

Kerr and Suggs testified at a Senate hearing May 8 about the problem.

“That very night, we had an accident with injuries directly in front of the school,” Kerr said. “That will be an amazing feeling to not have to worry about that.”

Wheaton police reported 83 nonfatal traffic collisions occurred in the area between 2017 and 2023.

IDOT studied the area in 2019 and concluded a pedestrian traffic light was warranted because of the crash history. However, the agency could not provide funding.

Lewis said he hopes future state grants could pay for the project and alleviate the need for the high school’s contribution.

“This effort will save lives and transform our neighborhood, ensuring that everyone, from children to the elderly, can safely access essential services and live without fear,” Suggs said.

The construction project will be coordinated between the city of Wheaton and IDOT.

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