UPDATED 9-15-2016 with RR Star’s article
This article is from the Facebook account of The Rhubarb.
Late this afternoon The Rhubarb received a phone call from Caledonia Township Road Commissioner Norm Pierce informing The Rhubarb that an agreement between Caledonia Township Commissioner Norm Pierce, Belvidere Township Highway Commissioner Richard Lee and Boone County Engineer Richard Lundin has been reached in regards to the intersection of Beloit Road and Orth Road. This will now become a 4 way stop. Details as to when signs will go up are pending upon the arrival of supplies.
The Rhubarb delayed the following article as it is still waiting on additional statistical information from the Boone County Sherriff’s office. The Rhubarb will also be posting this information.
Car vs School Bus on Beloit Road and Orth Road intersection
By Lisa Rodgers
Publisher/Editor The Rhubarb
BOONE COUNTY-“On Wednesday, September 07, 2016 at approximately 3:30 pm, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two vehicle accident at the intersection of Beloit Road and Orth Road, Belvidere.
Preliminary investigation shows that a First Student School Bus carrying approximately 32 Belvidere District 100 students was traveling north on Beloit Road. A passenger vehicle traveling west on Orth Road failed to yield, striking the bus. The bus continued north, tipping on its side.
Boone County District #2 Fire and twelve ambulances from Boone County, McHenry County, DeKalb County, Winnebago County and Rock County (Wisconsin) responded to the scene. The drivers of both vehicles and ten students were transported to four area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Most students were treated at the scene and released to their parents.
A quick response and assistance by first responders, school personnel, bus personnel, residents and parents are credited for making the incident manageable. The accident is still under investigation by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office…,” posted September 7 by Boone County Sherriff’s office on their Facebook page.
…“The Sheriff's Office says the driver, 23-year-old Marisol Talavera, was cited for not having a valid driver's license, not having insurance, and for failure to yield at a stop sign. She is still being treated at St. Anthony’s Hospital.
A total of 12 people were taken to area hospitals: 10 children, the bus driver and Talavera. Boone County District #2 Fire and twelve ambulances from Boone, McHenry, DeKalb, Winnebago and Rock (Wisconsin) counties responded to the scene.
Officials say Talavera pulled her into the intersection of Beloit and Orth roads in Belvidere and collided with the bus around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday…”Posted: WREX Sep 08, 2016 3:41 PM CDT School bus crash update on Facebook.
Concerned comments from the public have raised questions as to who is responsible for this intersection and what else can be done to improve the safety of the Beloit Road and Orth Road intersection?
The following information is located at Boone County Highway Department online information.
“Who's responsibility is it to maintain* a given road?
There are basically four different highway authorities who have maintenance responsibilities with in Boone County which are listed, along with the general jurisdictional responsibly:
State: Responsible for all marked and unmarked state routes and interstates. State roads can exist within the corporate limits of a city or village.
County: Responsible for all county roads which, in general, consist of main collector routes. County roads can also exist within the corporate limits of a city of village.
Township (Road District): Responsible for all township roads within a given township. Roads on township lines may be the responsibility of either of the adjacent townships and it may change from one section to another.
Township roads cannot exist within the corporate limits of a city or village. Therefore, if the corporate limits of a road is adjacent to or included within any part of the right-of-way that road is the maintenance responsibility of the city or village.
City or Village: Responsible for all public streets within the corporate limits except any State or county roads within the corporate limits.
*Maintenance responsibilities include all activities necessary to keep the road to an acceptable level of service including, but not limited to, snow plowing, repairing roads, and reconstruction.”
Many years ago a map was created giving jurisdiction to either Boone County or the townships for specific roads. At the time the map was created Beloit Road was considered a more rural road and therefore jurisdiction was given to the townships. Due to the boundary lines between Caledonia Township and Belvidere Township each has a responsibility to the intersection. Caledonia Township is responsible for three corners. Orth Road and the north/west corner of Beloit Road. The same corner where the school bus came to rest. Belvidere Township is responsible for only the south/east corner of Beloit Road.
It should be noted that at the time the map was created and jurisdiction allocated, there were no schools on Beloit Road. There is now Seth Whitman Elementary, Belvidere Central Middle School and Belvidere North High School. Belvidere North opened the fall of 2007.
The following crash statistics were provided to The Rhubarb by the Boone County Highway Department for the Orth Road and Beloit Road intersection. More detailed statics from the Boone County Sheriff’s office is pending.
2002 - 5
2003 - 4
2004 - 4
2005 - 5
2006 - 10
2007 - 6
2008 - 9
2009 - 2
2010 - 11
2012 - 12
2013 - 6
2014 - 5
2015 - 16
Total from 2002-2015: 95 Crashes
Average from 2002-2015: 7.3 crashes per year.
Average from 2002-2006: 5.6 crashes per year.
Average from 2007-2015: 8.3 crashes per year. Belvidere North High School opened in 2007.
“I’m in full support of making this intersection a 4 way stop,” said Caledonia Township Road Commissioner Norm Pierce.
“I have been the Road Commission for 14 years and take my job very seriously. My job as Road Commissioner is to keep the public safe. I have done everything possible under the current law that is permissible to improve the safety of this intersection. Flashing lights have been installed, cross-traffic signs posted ahead of the intersection as well as on the stop signs, reflective strips on both the cross-traffic signs as well as the stops signs. The stop signs are now 30” as required by law and were installed within the first year of the requirement. A speed trailer was also recently placed at this intersection.
I spoke with the homeowner a while back who had the video recording of the accident between the car and school bus. He agreed to remove his lilac bushes to help improve visibility. He did so voluntarily,” said Mr. Pierce.
“Life is not replaceable, cars are. I would be in support of the Orth Road and Beloit Road intersection becoming a 4 way stop,” concluded Mr. Pierce.
“For over the past year, the Boone County Sherriff’s office has been working with both townships to improve the intersection of Beloit Road and Orth Road. Patrol cars have been placed in driveways and a speed trailer was recently placed on Beloit Road.
In 2015 alone there were 19 accidents at this intersection. It is one of the worst intersections in Boone County. It should not be one of the worst intersections based on its location in the county compared to other higher traffic roads. It’s obvious there is a larger problem here. One fact is the intersection does not sit at a 90 degree angle.
Putting up stop signs at every intersection is not feasible as we need to continue the flow of traffic or no one will get anywhere. However the number of accidents occurring at Beloit Road and Orth Road with the statistical information cannot be ignored,” said Boone County Sheriff David Ernest.
Traffic information obtained directly from IDOT or Illinois Department of Transportation.
2013 AADT or Annual Average Daily Traffic for Beloit Road and Orth Road.
Traveling west 3200
Traveling east 1900
Traveling north 3350
Traveling south. 4850
The next scheduled review will be 2018.
According to information provided by the Boone County Highway Department, in order for any changes to occur at this intersection both townships must be in agreement and submit a request to the highway department. Boone County Board has no authority over this intersection. Change would only occur by Boone County Engineer Richard Lundin signing off on the request. If one township would request a 4 way stop and the other be not in agreement, the request will fail and no change will occur at the intersection. It should be noted Boone County Engineer Mr. Richard Lundin retires at the end of September.
The Rhubarb wishes to thank Boone County Sheriff David Ernest, Caledonia Township Commissioner Norm Pierce, Belvidere Township Highway Commissioner Richard Lee and Boone County Engineer Richard Lundin for all their assistance in this article.
Getting Around Illinois is a web-based interactive mapping site that provides the ability to search and display several sources of transportation data. You can find information on winter road conditions, annual average daily traffic, road construction, trucking routes, and planned road projects.
As background here is the newspaper story on the accident.
Purchase this PhotoAmbulances swarmed to Beloit and Orth roads after a car collided with a school bus causing it to roll Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in Belvidere. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM
By Kevin Haas
Posted Sep. 8, 2016 at 5:08 PM
Updated Sep 8, 2016 at 7:12 PM
BELVIDERE — The driver of a vehicle that crashed into a Belvidere school bus on Wednesday was cited for several traffic violations.
Marisol Talavera, 23, was cited for failure to yield at a stop sign, no valid driver's license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, according to the Boone County Sheriff's Office.
Talavera was driving west on Orth Road at about 3:30 p.m. when she failed to yield and struck a school bus headed north on Beloit Road, police said. The bus continued north and tipped on its side.
The bus was carrying 32 Belvidere Central Middle School students. Ten students were taken to the hospital, as well as the driver of the bus and Talavera. Their injuries were not believed to be serious. Talavera remains at a Rockford hospital, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Belvidere School District contracts with First Student Inc. for transportation.
Four-way stop sign going up at Orth and Beloit roads in Boone County, site of 64 crashes since 2011
By Kevin Haas
Posted Sep. 15, 2016 at 7:00 am Updated at 8:49 PM
BELVIDERE — When Brandon Pedroza approaches the intersection of Orth and Beloit roads he has a foot on the brakes, and his eyes scan his surroundings for oncoming cars.
He's never sure if drivers on Orth will obey the stop sign.
"The speed limit is 45 ... I go through there going 30-35 to make sure that those people are going to stop," said Pedroza, 19, of Roscoe. "You don't know if someone's coming and if they're going to blow through it until you're going through the intersection. There's a lot of blind spots over there."
The crossroads of Orth and Beloit is considered the county's most dangerous intersection by Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest. A collision last week between a school bus and car, which sent 10 Belvidere Central Middle School students to the hospital, brought renewed attention to the intersection and calls from some for changes to be made to make the route safer.
Township road officials decided to install a four-way stop sign.
"It should go up Monday," said Belvidere Township Highway Commissioner Rich Lee.
Lee said the four-way stop had been considered for about three to four months but it took time to get everyone together from different jurisdictions. The intersection is under the jurisdiction of Caledonia and Belvidere township road districts, with three legs of the crossroads belonging to Caledonia Township.
"They should at least put a four-way stop," Pedroza said. "Give the people a chance going north and south on Beloit Road to be able to stop and look and check that people are going to stop."
A year ago, on March 5, 2015, Pedroza was in a three-car collision at the intersection. A car headed east on Orth failed to yield at the stop sign and hit a vehicle going south on Beloit. That vehicle spun and struck Pedroza, who was headed north on Beloit, according to a Boone County sheriff's traffic report. There were 18 other collisions at the intersection that year.
"Once in a while when I go through there I look around and I see more pieces of cars, and I go, 'Uh oh, there was another accident here,'" Pedroza said.
There have been 64 crashes at the intersection of Orth and Beloit roads since 2011, according to statistics provided by the Boone County Sheriff's Office after a Freedom of Information Act request. The number of crashes peaked at 19 in 2015.
"Last year, we had 19 accidents at that intersection, which was alarming," Ernest said. "As far as I was concerned that was the worst intersection we had in the county."
Lee and Caledonia Township Highway Commissioner Norm Pierce have actively been trying to make the intersection safer, Ernest said.
"They've cut back bushes and trees, they've put reflective tape," Ernest said. The Sheriff's Office has tried to improve safety, too.
"We've had a lot of patrols there. We sat in that driveway on the corner. We put our speed trailer up there because we just felt that 19 accidents was ridiculous," Ernest said.
There have been seven crashes at the intersection so far this year, which includes last week's bus crash. "It's still too many, but that's a huge improvement," Ernest said. He said a roundabout would be ideal for the intersection.
More than 6,600 vehicles pass through the intersection on average each day, according to estimates based on Illinois Department of Transportation traffic counts.
"That roadway wasn't built for the type of traffic we have there these days," Ernest said. "We have a new high school on that side of town. We have Sportscore and the YMCA and all these things that are right there in that area. It's starting to be more of a throughway. And obviously we have heavy Chrysler traffic going north and south."
The county can only expect more traffic going forward, especially with the Mercyhealth hospital being built less than 5 miles away on the corner of East Riverside Boulevard and Interstate 90, said Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg. "Boone County needs to have a plan for how to provide access to people," Walberg said. "This is the time where we really need to come up with plans and come up with how we want to prepare for future growth and future traffic demands on our county."
The speed limit is 45 mph to the east, west and south of the intersection and 55 mph to the north. There are flashing signs alerting drivers of an upcoming stop sign to the east and west of Orth Road. Patrick Luetkenhaus of Belvidere said the speed limit should be reduced to 45 mph from Orth Road north to the stop sign in Argyle on Beloit Road.
"Many people that live in Roscoe, Rockton and Beloit travel that road to Belvidere. And a lot of those people work at Chrysler," Luetkenhaus said. "I travel Beloit Road once a week to do some volunteer work in Rockton. I have been doing that for many years, I can tell you that many people are going down Beloit Road traveling 10 or more miles over the speed limit."
Lee said he and Pierce both want to see the speed limit on Beloit on the north side of the intersection reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph. He said they're working with the county highway department to make that change. Federal requirements and county policy call for a speed study to be conducted before a speed limit is changed, said County Engineer Rich Lundin. The study uses a formula to determine a safe speed. Then the Boone County Board must approve the change.
Ernest said driver error — often failing to yield at the stop sign — is the cause of most crashes at the intersection.
"It's mainly people being inpatient and in a hurry," Ernest said of the cause of crashes. "We put a four-way stop there we're still going to have accidents."
Kevin Haas: 815-987-1410; email@example.com; @KevinMHaas
Crashes per year
There have been 64 crashes at the intersection of Orth and Beloit roads since 2011