IDOT sets public meeting on proposed upgrades to dangerous Sterling intersection

STERLING – A virtual public meeting will be held Wednesday to discuss the proposed reconstruction of a troublesome intersection north of town that took the life of a Morrison teenager in October.

The intersection at state Route 40/Locust Street and Science Ridge Road, just outside city limits, has been the scene of nearly 30 crashes in the last 6 years.

On Oct. 26, Natalie Williams, a 15-year-old Morrison High sophomore, was killed when the eastbound car she was riding in missed the stop sign on Science Ridge and was struck by a semi heading north on 40.

On March 2, Sterling Township, which oversees Science Ridge, paid the Lee County Highway Department to cut rumble strips into either side of Science Ridge as it approaches Route 40. The stop signs were equipped with flashing lights.

Those were quick and likely temporary measures.

After the fatal crash, Illinois Department of Transportation staff in Dixon worked to move the intersection to the top of the agency’s priority list, getting permission to launch an engineering study that includes researching the crash history of the area and related data.

Potential safety solutions could include realigning roads leading to the intersection, installing a four-way stop, or maybe a roundabout, maybe just the flashing signs, maybe none of the above, maybe something completely different.

Wednesday’s meeting to gather input is the first public step in the process.

It will begin at 6 p.m. Registration is required at

In addition to a presentation introducing the study, the meeting will include exhibits for review and a survey, and IDOT personnel will be available to answer questions.

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.