Driving in downtown Chicago can be challenging and frustrating, to say the least. During the months when snow and ice aren’t covering the ground, construction projects abound. This makes things even more confusing and dangerous for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
One particular intersection has recently become known for a significant uptick in the number of collisions. The corner of Halstead and Madison, in the West Loop, has become particularly dangerous, in large part because of the construction that’s been taking place there since last year. That work resulted in lane closures and mandatory detours. At least 28 accidents have occurred within 100 feet of this intersection in the last year. By comparison, 10 crashes were reported in that vicinity in 2016.
The intersection was recently the site of a fatal bicycle/truck collision. Shortly after 7 a.m. on Aug. 9, a 39-year-old woman riding her bicycle northbound on Halstead was struck and killed by a garbage truck as the driver made a right turn.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) contends that its inspectors regularly visit these construction sites to document safety issues. However, some who live and work in the area are still fearful. One man who lives in the West Loop says of the Halstead/Madison construction site, “Whenever I am over here, I get a little anxious. It’s very hard to see as you are walking through. There’s just a lot going on.”
People are asking CDOT to do more to help ensure the safety of those who walk, bike and drive in areas where construction causes lane closures, traffic diversions and general confusion. For example, the agency can put personnel at these sites to help manage the traffic flow. It can also modify lane closures.
When people suffer injuries or lose loved ones in vehicle crashes, it may be relevant to ask whether the actions or negligence of city or county agencies responsible for traffic safety may have contributed to the crash. Illinois car accident attorneys can provide valuable guidance in holding the appropriate individuals and entities responsible.