Chicago Sun-Times

CON­CRETE I- 90 BAR­RIER CUTS AC­CESS FOR FIRST- RE­SPON­DERS

- — Marni Pyke

The re­built Jane Ad­dams Toll­way ( I- 90) brought spank­ing new lanes, mod­ern­ized in­ter­changes and an un­wel­come sur­prise for Schaum­burg fire­fight­ers — a longer re­sponse time for crashes.

Pre­vi­ously, fire­fight­ers rush­ing to an emer­gency would jump on west­bound I- 90 at Route 53 and speed to the crash lo­ca­tion.

That’s not as easy — or as safe — now, some say. A con­crete bar­rier dubbed the “chute” by lo­cal fire­fight­ers di­vides the west­bound I- 90 lo­cal and ex­press lanes for a mile or so be­tween Route 53 and just west of Meacham Road.

The changes on I- 90 have im­proved re­sponse times in Hoff­man Es­tates, but the chute is prov­ing prob­lem­atic in neigh­bor­ing Schaum­burg.

“This makes it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for emer­gency ve­hi­cles to ac­cess many parts of I- 90,” said Fire Chief David A. Schu­mann. “It’s a pub­lic safety is­sue.”

The toll­way was a good part­ner dur­ing the I- 90 con­struc­tion, keep­ing the vil­lage in the loop about the project, Schu­mann said.

So why the dis­con­nect with the fin­ished prod­uct?

The agency “works with lo- cal com­mu­ni­ties to en­sure that the im­pacts of im­prove­ments made to our road­way sys­tem will con­tinue to al­low full ac­cess to emer­gency ser­vice providers,” spokesman Dan Rozek said.

“While de­sign­ing and build­ing the Meacham Road In­ter­change, the toll­way worked closely with the vil­lage of Schaum­burg to en­sure the new in­ter­change was ap­pro­pri­ately de­signed to meet the needs of emer­gency re­spon­ders.”

Schaum­burg typ­i­cally cov­ers 911 calls on west­bound I- 90 be­tween Route 53 and Bar­ring­ton Road, han­dling ev­ery­thing from “fend­er­ben­ders at rush hour to a 2 a. m. se­ri­ous rollover accident,” Schu­mann said.

As a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion, Schaum­burg fire trucks and am­bu­lances now en­ter I- 90 at Ar­ling­ton Heights Road, which gives them ac­cess to all lanes, but the reroute is longer and costs pre­cious time. “There’s going to be de­layed re­sponses” of up to 15 min­utes, Schu­mann es­ti­mated. The depart­ment is brain­storm­ing with coun­ter­parts in Ar­ling­ton Heights and Hoff­man Es­tates on a Plan B.

The toll­way has $ 2.5 bil­lion bud­geted to re­build and widen the Jane Ad­dams be­tween Rock­ford and O’Hare Air­port. Work­ers added a lane in each di­rec­tion along with bridge re­pairs.

 ??  ??
 ?? | BOB CHWEDYK/ DAILY HER­ALD ?? A con­crete bar­rier, dubbed the “chute” by lo­cal fire­fight­ers, di­vides the west­bound I- 90 lo­cal and ex­press lanes be­tween Illi­nois 53 and just west of Meacham Road.
| BOB CHWEDYK/ DAILY HER­ALD A con­crete bar­rier, dubbed the “chute” by lo­cal fire­fight­ers, di­vides the west­bound I- 90 lo­cal and ex­press lanes be­tween Illi­nois 53 and just west of Meacham Road.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA