By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – The intersection of Poplar Grove and Squaw Prairie roads is a dangerous place, according to a resident who lives on one of the corners.

Now, the Boone County Roads and Capital Improvements Committee share their concern and is recommending some changes to the full county board. They include:

Putting red flashing lights on top of the stop signs on Squaw Prairie. The county would do that. There are no stop signs on Poplar Grove Road.

Asking Belvidere and Bonus townships to put yellow flashing lights on top of each stop ahead sign leading up to the intersection.

Asking Belvidere Township to put rumble strips back on Squaw Prairie, before the intersection stop signs.

The Board could also ask Bonus Township to conduct a speed study.

Those recommendations were made in a unanimous vote at the committee’s May 3 meeting. They will be considered by the full county board at its May 18 meeting.

Information provided by the county shows 24 crashes occurred at that intersection from 2006 through 2015, and over the first four-plus months of 2016. Nine of those wrecks involved injuries, five of them occurring between January 2015 and so far in May 2016.

Six of the mishaps occurred when a westbound vehicle collided with a northbound vehicle.

The most recent crash took place in May. Resident Pamela Gustafson, who raised the safety issue with the committee, said that no one was injured, but one of the vehicles involved was flat-bedded.

She reported being “thrilled, ecstatic” by the committee decision. “I’m just off Cloud 9 today.”

She was hopeful the county board and townships would not have a problem with the proposed improvements.

Earlier meetings

In a letter to committee Chairman Brad Stark dated April 10, Gustafson stated that she and neighbor Marilyn Hunt met with county Sheriff Dave Ernest on Oct. 7, to discuss their concerns.

“Sheriff Ernest was very open to our concerns and very much aware of this very bad intersection,” she stated. “He gave us some suggestions and his thoughts regarding this matter.”

Later, she said she met with county Engineer Rich Lundin on Nov. 17, and “he suggested that I write to you …”

In an attachment, she provided a history of the rumble strips, stating they were installed between 1999 and 2000 on the eastbound and westbound lanes of Squaw Prairie Road. Not long after that a petition drive was launched by a neighbor, who claimed the strips were too noisy and kept him awake at night.

No changes were made, she stated. Then, when westbound Squaw Prairie was resurfaced several years ago, she said the Belvidere Township road commissioner did not reinstall the strips.

“He subsequently told me at a later date that ‘they do not do any good,'” she wrote.

When eastbound Squaw Prairie was repaved she said the Bonus Township road commissioner put the rumble strips back in.

“We would like to have the rumble strips put back on Squaw Prairie on the west side of Poplar Grove Road …,” she wrote to Chairman Stark.

Ultimately, his committee voted to make that recommendation to the county board.

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