State Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) has sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) urging the Department to allocate funding to construct an emergency access entrance connecting Ashton Road to I-80 on the west side of Morris to dramatically improve the response time of police and fire personnel during emergency traffic incidents.
“When a devastating crash involving loss of life and property damage occurs on I-80, time is of the essence,” Rep. Welter said. “Oftentimes, when the fire department is dispatched to an incident on I-80, they can see the accident site from their fire station. However, due to a lack of emergency access to the interstate from Ashton Road, they are forced to travel to the nearest interchange on Illinois Route 47 to gain access to I-80. This extra distance increases response time to these emergencies when minutes – even seconds – can make the difference between life and death.”
In his letter to IDOT co-signed by Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley, Morris Police Chief Alicia Steffes and Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes, Rep. Welter noted that first responders experience extreme delays to reach the scene of an emergency when they are forced to access the interstate from a further distance due to the back-up traffic caused by the incident.
The Morris Fire Protection District provides Fire/Rescue and Advanced Life Support services to 144 square miles within Grundy County. These services are provided from two locations: one at 121 W. Main Street in downtown Morris and the other at 2301 Ashton Road on the south side of I-80 near the Ashton Road overpass.
Sheriff Briley noted that the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office is often called to assist the Illinois State Police with emergency response calls to incidents on I-80 and that when deputies cannot quickly access I-80 from the Illinois Route 47 interchange at mile marker 112, they have to drive seven miles west to Seneca Road at mile marker 105 for access, taking up crucial extra minutes.
Representative Welter serves the 75th District which includes portions of Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle and Will Counties.