Construction on U.S. 34 raises safety concerns on nearby detour road

WARREN COUNTY, Illinois--With almost 50 years of farming experience, Lee Lucas says he’s never had a problem driving his tractor on Illinois 164, until recently.

“I don’t care if we have our flashers going, our turn signals, (drivers) don’t pay attention…. You have to stay in your lane to account for those trucks. It’s narrow and those trucks are not forgiving,” says Lucas.

He says traffic in that area has gotten worse ever since construction crews shut down U.S. 34 for major repairs in April. Since the road closure, drivers have been using Illinois 164 as a detour between Galesburg and Monmouth, Illinois.

“I know we’ve got to contend with it, but I didn’t realize it was going to be this bad,” says Lucas.

Deputies from the Warren County Sheriff’s office say since the construction started, they’ve also noticed a lot more complaints of safety concerns in the area.

“I am out here more often… I stopped a gentleman this morning and I had him doing over 80,” says Deputy AJ Cox.

The traffic volume coming through the area is another concern, because traffic that would normally flow down four lanes is now being condensed to two.

“We only have two lanes we don’t have much of a shoulder and in most of the places out here our ditches are very, very deep,” says Cox.

Although Lucas is happy to see the extra patrol in the area he says he would be even happier to see construction come to an end on U.S. 34

“I hope they are on schedule with the construction. I would like to see them ahead of schedule,” says Lucas.

U.S. 34 is set to open in October.