Lowell Park, Pines roads intersection to get rumble strips

Rural Polo intersection has seen more than 20 crashes in last 13 years

POLO — Rumble strips are coming to Lowell Park Road at its intersection with Pines Road, where more than 20 crashes have occurred since 2009.

Ogle County Engineer Jeremy Ciesiel said he ordered temporary rumble strips a few weeks ago, and plans to have permanent ones installed as part of next year’s construction season. The project should go out to bid in March 2023, and likely will be completed around June 2023, he said.

“The cooperation of the property owners [near the intersection] by signing a petition made the process at lot easier to do,” Ciesiel said. “There was the concern about the proximity of the residents [to the rumble strips], but when they were in favor of it, we were able to move forward with it.”

Marcia Dewey, of Polo, brought petitions signed by the nearby property owners to the May 17 Ogle County Board meeting. The petitions state the residents are OK with rumble strops being added and that they are aware of the noise factor. She also had other petitions with more than 200 total signatures asking that rumble strips be put in on Lowell Park Road.

Dewey was injured in a June 1, 2021, crash at the Lowell Park and Pines roads intersection. The driver of a box truck didn’t obey the stop sign on Lowell Park Road and entered the intersection.

“I was in critical condition and am still on the road to recovery today,” Dewey said at the May 17 meeting.

From Jan. 1, 2009, to April 30 of this year, 21 crashes have occurred at the intersection located about 3 miles east of Polo, according to a traffic study conducted by Ciesiel. Sixteen of them involved drivers on Lowell Park Road who either did not obey the stop signs, or failed to yield to traffic on Pines Road after stopping.

The temporary rumble strips cost about $4,000, Ciesiel said. He expects the permanent rumble strips to cost $24,000 to $25,000, based on previous projects’ costs.

These temporary rumble strips will “be an experiment” because of the length of time they’re looking to keep them in place, Ciesiel said.

“To be honest, we’ve never had them up for more than a couple months,” he said. “I’m not sure how well it will hold up. I got a variety different than what we’ve had on previous projects in the hope we can keep them in place over the winter, but I’m not sure what a snow plow will do to them.”

Ciesiel isn’t sure when the strips will be delivered because of continued supply chain issues. As of June 23, they also still were waiting on the arrival of flashing LED enhanced stop signs for the north and south legs of Lowell Park Road, which were ordered six weeks prior, he said.

“The supply lines for just about everything we’re trying to acquire is so messed up, still,” Ciesiel said. “I never know when to expect anything. Everything just takes much longer than we would like.”

County highway department employees will install both the stop signs and the temporary rumble strips once they arrive, he said.

Sue Ramage, whose sister was killed in a crash at Lowell Park and Pines roads, said she is “so excited.” She credited Dewey’s efforts in gathering petition signatures for the addition of the rumble strips.

“I’m very happy, and I still hope for a four-way stop, but rumble strips is a huge start,” Ramage said. “It’s wonderful. I just hope it’s going to save lots of people from having an accident there, from any direction.”

Her sister, Kathleen Brooks, died July 5, 1972, at age 22. Brooks’ then-2-year-old daughter survived the crash.

“The timing couldn’t be better, because next week is 50 years since my sister got killed,” Ramage said. “So I feel like it’s for her.”

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.