On June 1, 2011, construction began on the Butterfield Road (IL Route 56) widening project. Upon the project’s conclusion, approximately six miles of Butterfield Road, from Naperville Road in the City of Wheaton to Route 59 in the City of Warrenville, will be widened from two lanes to four. The project will also include updated intersections, additional turning lanes, and additional lanes at the major cross streets of Wiesbrook Road, Orchard Road, and Naperville Road to improve capacity at Butterfield Road intersections. According to the Daily Herald, the project is scheduled to conclude in the fall of 2012.
Butterfield Road Car Accidents
When planning the project, the Illinois Department of Transportation conducted a crash analysis on the section of Butterfield Road to be improved. The IDOT study found a total of 670 accidents on this stretch of Butterfield Road. The study found that 88% of the accidents were rear end collisions and turning accidents. The study also investigated eight intersections along Butterfield Road, including: IL Route 59, Batavia Road, Winfield Road, Wiesbrook Road, Orchard Road, Cromwell Drive, Naperville Road, and the Danada Square and Naperville road intersection. From 2004 through 2006 there were 387 accidents at these intersections, causing 83 personal injuries. Again, approximately 90% of the accidents at these locations were rear end collisions and turning accidents. The road widening and updated intersections are designed to lower the number of car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents that occur on Butterfield Road.
The new and improved Butterfield Road will have increased capacity and less congestion, as well as a higher level of safety. Perhaps the projects biggest safety measures are the planned construction of a 30 ft grass median, multi-use trail, and public sidewalk. Segregating motorists from each other with a large median is a big step toward preventing catastrophic head on collision car accidents. Moreover, segregating motorists from cyclists and pedestrians through the construction of an official bike path is a big step toward preventing pedestrian accidents and bike accidents.
The segregated multi-use trail will connect to the existing Illinois Prairie path. In addition to cyclists and pedestrians, portions of the multi-use trail along Butterfield Road will be equestrian friendly. The intersections at Batavia Road, Winfield Road, and Herrick Road are set to be equipped with equestrian height call buttons on signal posts.
Keeping the recreational activities of bikers, pedestrians, and equestrians separated from motorists is an essential element for the safety of all travelers. However, multi-use trails present unique dangers. Cyclists must be the most diligent and respectful of right-of-way standards because they are moving at the greatest speed, thus, more likely to cause an accident. Of course, pedestrian accidents often occur when pedestrians are not adequately aware of their surroundings. For instance, pedestrian accidents often occur when a pedestrian is simply trying to walk across a trail or path. The same ‘look both ways before crossing’ rule also applies to crossing trails and paths. While an equestrian’s horse will not be moving as fast as a bicycle, the sheer size and mass of a horse presents dangers for pedestrians and bikers.