Deadly crash raises concerns over U.S. 20 and its future - – Rockford’s News Leader

Deadly crash raises concerns over U.S. 20 and its future


In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration issued a recommendation to transform U.S. 20 into a four-lane road. The current two-lane road is a 55 mile stretch from Freeport to Galena, a heavily traveled highway.

"Our community college professor died on this highway," Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz said, "And now we have another family that is going to mourn the loss of their loved ones on this highway."

On Thursday, the Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Office says a man crossed the center lane crashing into another car. The driver of that vehicle died, along with three others.

According to Illinois State Police, since 2013 11 people have died on that stretch of highway.

"We have people that should not be dying on this artery that are dying or being seriously harmed on a regular basis," Gitz said.

But according to IDOT, the project is not in the state's multi-year program. A spokesperson with IDOT says there's just simply not enough funding. The project would cost $1.4 billion, nearly 20 percent of IDOT's six year budget.

Mayor Gitz says IDOT shouldn't be the only ones looking to fix U.S. 20. Instead, it should be a nationwide issue.

"I think the answer to this is we need a national transportation program and we need this to be included as a project of national significance," Gitz said. "The sooner we do that it not only will be a better highway and a safer highway, but it will also improve the country's infrastructure because this is a major highway used by trucks."

IDOT says after 2016, it will use $20 million of its multi-year program to make safety improvement to that stretch of U.S. 20. It will add shoulders, passing lanes and rumble strips.

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