BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Travelers have one more week until the new traffic signal at the Interstate 74 eastbound ramp intersection with Bowman Avenue is operational.
The traffic signal is up, but is flashing red right now.
Craig Emberton, Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 5 acting program development engineer, said the signal will be fully operational starting Nov. 27.
Aldermen in April approved an agreement with IDOT, with Mayor Scott Eisenhauer providing the eighth majority vote needed for approval, for the traffic signal installation at the Interstate 74 eastbound ramp intersection with Bowman Avenue.
IDOT installed a flashing yellow sign on the interstate about two years ago to warn drivers to watch for stopped traffic and traffic extending onto the interstate from the ramp. There were occasions of this occurring, but not every day during IDOT’s study.
Danville Urban Services Director David Schnelle said IDOT officials determined the traffic signal at Bowman and the ramp to be the best solution from a cost-effective standard.
Two residents spoke in April against the signal, saying it was unnecessary and could be more dangerous, making a small problem into a larger one. A suggestion included removing the stop sign there.
IDOT official Jerry Cearlock said in April that traffic signals aren’t taken lightly by IDOT. The signal has been looked at since the early 1990s when complaints about traffic back-ups started.
There can be back-ups some mornings for 15-20 minutes onto the interstate, sometimes involving a school bus, Cearlock said.
He said there have been 11 accidents in the last few years along the ramp area. IDOT looked at different options to solve the problem. Increased traffic in 10 or more years likely will make the problem worse.
The state paid for the signal installation and maintenance.