Route 59 intersections top crash list in Naperville
A total of 567 accidents occurred last year at Naperville's 10 busiest intersections, but police say they hope changes to state law will decrease driver distractions and make those areas safer.
Data from the police department's traffic unit shows the 10 intersections with the most accidents in 2013 all are along Route 59, Ogden Avenue or 75th Street.
"These are the consistent areas where we try to concentrate our guys and have them monitor traffic," traffic Sgt. Al Trotsky said.
Two of the intersections along Route 59 -- at 95th Street on the south side of town and Diehl Road on the north -- tied for most accidents last year with 58 each, mainly because of "the high volume of traffic," Trotsky said.
Remaining intersections on the list saw between 55 and 45 accidents last year. Points along Route 59 at I-88, North Aurora Road and 111th Street made the list along with spots on 75th Street at Book Road, Millbrook Drive and Naper Boulevard, and points along Ogden Avenue at Aurora Avenue, Mill Street and Washington Street.
At some of the intersections, such as 75th Street at Book Road and Millbrook Drive, Trotsky said crashes increase between 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Workers on their lunch break or Naperville Central students heading south from school to grab a bite to eat could be among those involved in lunchtime crashes, Trotsky said.
Police have found drivers who are distracted, following too closely or unaware of their surroundings to be among causes of accidents on well-traveled roads such as Route 59, which carries more than 50,000 vehicles a day.
"Driver awareness -- that's the key to reducing these collisions," Trotsky said.
He said officers on normal patrols have begun enforcing a new state law that forbids people from talking on hand-held cellphones while driving. Enforcement efforts also continue to target those who text and drive.
If more drivers put down their cellphones, Trotsky said, they'll be less likely to get into accidents.
Aside from state law changes to decrease distractions, Trotsky said work to widen and reconstruct a three-mile stretch of Route 59 could help make the congested state road safer. Three intersections on the top 10 list for crashes -- at I-88, Diehl Road, North Aurora Road -- are within the road work zone.
A two-year, nearly $90 million project that began last summer will increase the road's width to three lanes in each direction between Ferry Road and Aurora Avenue/New York Street, adding extra left-turn lanes at Diehl Road, North Aurora Road, Jefferson Avenue/Liberty Street and Aurora Avenue/New York Street. The project also will improve traffic signal coordination and create a new configuration to decrease left turns across opposing traffic as drivers merge on and off I-88.
"I think it'll help a lot," Trotsky said about the project, which is scheduled to be complete in late fall 2015, "based on the traffic flows I've seen projected by IDOT and the methods for getting on and off I-88 at 59."