A much-anticipated meeting between Columbia and Illinois Department of Transportation officials yielded a plan to increase safety on the Route 3 corridor through the city.
The suggestions to improve compliance with traffic laws have taken on an urgency in the aftermath of a Feb. 28 traffic crash at the intersection of Route 3 and Veterans Parkway that claimed the life of local mother-of-six Emily Webb. Her six children were all injured, two critically.
“The meeting with IDOT went extremely well,” Columbia city administrator Jimmy Morani said. “They came prepared with a list of items they wanted to talk about; they are considering a lot of the ideas from the community.”
Already in place is a full-time Columbia police officer dedicated to the Route 3 corridor. This traffic safety officer has been patrolling the stretch of highway since early in the month in an unmarked police car.
The plans IDOT is likely to put into action first include improving signage and additional striping designed to slow drivers.
Special striping will be painted along the shoulders leading up to Route 3 intersections. The stripes will be positioned closer together as they approach the intersections, creating the illusion to drivers that they are going faster than they are, and causing them to slow down.
This method of striping can also be found at the Belleville East High School campus.
Another safety enhancement drivers will likely see in the coming months is the installation of new speed limit signs with highly reflective yellow accents.
“Additionally, work will be performed along the shoulders and medians to assist police with traffic enforcement,” Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson said. “In the long term, IDOT is considering modifications to traffic signalization. However, these changes will not be determined until after the completion of a year-long traffic study that IDOT has already commenced.
“I appreciate the proactive approach IDOT is taking to help make a difference.”
The proposed safety enhancements will be implemented incrementally over the next two years.
Hutchinson added that while these new safety measures should help curb driving behaviors along Route 3, it is still the responsibility of motorists to obey all traffic laws.