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Local News

Elwood begins new traffic enforcement aimed at trucks

A tractor-trailer crosses the railroad tracks March 25 after turning onto Walter Strawn Drive from Route 53 in Elwood. Restrictions approved by the village board go into effect this week and are designed to reduce heavy truck traffic on State Route 53 and Walter Strawn Road.
A tractor-trailer crosses the railroad tracks March 25 after turning onto Walter Strawn Drive from Route 53 in Elwood. Restrictions approved by the village board go into effect this week and are designed to reduce heavy truck traffic on State Route 53 and Walter Strawn Road.

ELWOOD – Village officials announced Wednesday that Elwood will begin enforcing new restrictions on truck traffic this week.

The restrictions approved May 20 by the village board are designed to reduce heavy truck traffic on State Route 53 and Walter Strawn Road.

An announcement from the village noted the restrictions come “in the wake of a deadly accident where a truck collided with a family’s minivan.” The March 17 accident killed 8-year-old Madison Frost of Crest Hill.

Also, the Illinois Commerce Commission has scheduled a hearing for June 18 on safety issues related to a Route 53 railroad crossing where trucks crashed the gates 47 times in 2013.

“We believe making minor adjustments to limit heavy truck traffic will make a big difference in protecting the safety and well-being of our residents who are put in harm’s way on a daily basis,” Village President William Offerman said in a written statement. “This is the responsible and right thing to do. We cannot afford to wait until the state decides how to deal with this very dangerous crossing.”

The new traffic restrictions prohibit left turns from Baseline Road onto Walter Strawn Road. They also prohibit right turns from Walter Strawn onto Baseline. The news release from the village said Elwood is also trying to prohibit trucks from using CenterPoint Drive as a thoroughfare.

Village officials said they are trying to encourage semitrailers to use the interchange completed at Interstate 55 and Arsenal Road. That interchange was designed for semitrailer traffic coming from the intermodal yards both in Elwood and Joliet that are part of CenterPoint Properties industrial parks.

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