Time to change the interchange?

By Erica Quednau | equednau@wcia.com

Published 01/10 2014 04:59PM

Updated 01/10 2014 06:10PM

CHAMPAIGN -- State and county leaders are turning their attention to a busy intersection. The I-74 and I-57 interchange could be getting a makeover.

The intersection is known to many as a safety hazard. Over the past five years, there have been more than 300 accidents including two deaths. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out how those numbers made a county leader take action.

County board chairman Al Kurtz wrote IDOT and Governor Quinn about the safety issues at the interchange. Now, IDOT is stepping up to make it a better ride for everyone.

Your drive from work can be a time to relax and calm down from the day. Or it can be a mess.

"Well, we live close to that interchange and we hear emergency vehicles going constantly to that area."

The interchange ranks in the top five percent for accidents in the state.

"I haven't had a problem because I know about it. If you go slowly, you're in good shape, but a lot of people don't realize it until it's too late."

Kurtz says it's because the cloverleaf design is outdated.

"It's probably the incline of the ramp."

That's why IDOT is stepping in to help. So far, it's put new safety signs along the ramps. This spring it will resurface the exits in an attempt to improve traction.

But, some are skeptical if those plans will work.

"It gets a little crowded on occasion, but it's a major intersection. That's going to happen. I don't know what you could do without eating up a great deal of land."

Some drivers think the problem lies with others on the road.

"The NASCAR mentality of our drivers is maybe the biggest worry for me. Mostly, as I say, it's because of a lack of courtesy to let people in and out."

Either way, something needs to change.

"Any solution to solve that problem, I think, would be helpful and to reduce the amount of injuries and the number of accidents would be helpful."

"As I say, the NASCAR mentality that that guy's not getting ahead of me. I don't know how you fix that."

IDOT is also doing a study on how to restructure the interchange. It could lead to a $70 million construction project. If everyone signs off and funding is secured, the entire structure would be replaced.

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