Recently, our Village experienced a near shut down of traffic moving in and out of the Village. This was a direct result of a major traffic accident which happened on the I-80 Bridge over River St, Joliet in the East bound lanes. A large truck carrying aerosol cans caught fire and for a lengthy period of time, cans were exploding on the Interstate and below the Interstate which the Illinois State Police deemed dangerous. We took an emergency that was totally out of our control and with the assistance of our Public Works team and our Police Department, we took an unmanageable situation and managed it.
From this accident, the Illinois State Police asked for the cooperation of the Village Police to control the flow of traffic by closing smaller Roads which might disrupt this flow which included sections of our Moen Avenue, Meadow Avenue East and West. During this major traffic disruption, residents were having trouble entering the Village and with some, getting to their children for school pickup. Thankfully, our Village Police kept smaller Roads open and worked with the Rockdale School to help with the pickup of School Children on a Friday afternoon. Plus, we accommodated all residents who gave their address or had to pick up their kids once people reached a Village entrance that had been blocked off for non-Village traffic. During this unfortunate Emergency, access was possible into the Village using Midland Avenue, Wheeler Avenue and Mound Road East and West.
There were those who were inconvenienced, and we apologize. But all things considered, the overall review of our response as a Village was favorable. After a number of hours, the emergency situation was resolved, and things eventually turned back to normal. However, there are lessons to be learned by everyone.
First and foremost, obey all traffic laws. If there is a police presence, ask them for assistance. They are always there to assist our residents in their time of need. But if you need assistance in the absence of a Patrol Officer, do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1.
As we move forward with Winter fast approaching and with I-80 construction taking place now and well into the future, let patience be our guide should this kind of emergency ever happen again.