OREGON — The stoplights at the intersection of Illinois Routes 2 and 64 likely will remain flashing until early September, Oregon City Council members learned Tuesday.
“Since it’s going to be in the next four weeks, IDOT does not want to put in a temporary [control] box due to costs and with the fact that not all the sensors would work anyway,” Oregon Public Works Director Bill Covell said. “So it could cause more of a headache for the public without all the turnlights and stuff working.”
Covell said he’s trying to speed up delivery of the new permanent control box as much as possible.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will not allow additional traffic control signage to be placed at the intersection in the meantime, Covell said.
“I worked with IDOT on trying to get some additional stop signs out or any additional warning devices [and] it is not allowed by IDOT,” he told commissioners. “IDOT will not allow it because there could be confliction with the traffic lights if, for some reason, they came back on.”
Covell said he had a “pretty good conversation” with the IDOT person in charge of traffic operations.
“She shut down the idea completely on allowing stop signs or any other traffic tool out there,” he said.
Commissioner Melanie Cozzi questioned if the city would be at all liable for crashes that occur as a result of the traffic lights not working properly.
“I wouldn’t see how we could be,” Covell replied. “I have it documented really well about my conversation with IDOT. She shut down every idea.”
City Administrator Darin DeHaan agreed with Covell, noting that the requirements for the intersection are written into Illinois state statute.
“So we do not have any liability,” DeHaan said. “In fact, we’re discouraged from putting other traffic control devices there because of the confusing message. [If we posted additional signage], that would give us liability.
“I understand the community’s tired of seeing it flashing, but we’re doing what we’re supposed to, which is having Bill [Covell] keep pushing them to get it done,” he said.
What to do if a traffic light isn’t working
- No signal lights — the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop.
- Flashing red — the lights should be treated as stop signs.
- Flashing yellow — drivers should proceed with caution, and only when traffic permits.