Dangerous stretch of road has drivers on edge

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 08/22 2014 05:58PM

Updated 08/25 2014 12:33PM

OAKWOOD -- A stretch of I-74 has people driving cautiously or avoiding it altogether. It’s the portion between St. Joseph and Danville. In the last week, there have been three accidents, including one Friday morning. Many drivers who have to travel the road have become weary.

"The semi-traffic has really increased over the years and I just don't care for traveling with them, especially in a small vehicle," said Shirley Montgerard, of Danville.

Montgerard says truck traffic is just one reason she takes the back roads whenever she can.

"74 particularly is a lot of cross-winds and I think between the mix of the crosswinds and the semis, that's just not a good mix," she said.

This portion of the highway is known to be bad in the winter. In January, a deadly accident claimed the life of a Catlin woman. But accidents are happening here even when the sun is shining.

"It's more congested it seems like, especially when there's work zones," said Barbara Steffens, from Iowa.

Steffens knows the road well. She’s an escort for trucks carrying wind turbine blades. She thinks people aren’t paying enough attention.

"Stay in your lane and watch your speed and I think everybody would be a lot safer then," she said.

Safety advice Montgerard considers each time she drives this stretch of highway. She has to drive it at least once a week for work.

"It's just not safe," she said.

IDOT plans to talk about safety issues on I-74. More than $40 million has been budgeted for improvements between St. Joseph and Danville in the next 6 years.

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