URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – “Recently, we’ve had a number of non-compliance issues with vehicular traffic along that corridor,” Urbana Public Works Director Tim Cowan said.
One of those issues was a hit and run.
“Someone came through, not complying, and in some way, shape or form clipped one of the folks on the construction site.”
Then, the driver took off. It happened Tuesday afternoon in Urbana. Police told us on the scene someone drove through wet concrete – hurting one of the construction workers on Race Street. Cowan said it’s not the first incident at that job site, but it is the most serious.
“I’m not sure why people are specifically ignoring the traffic control. I assume out of convenience for themselves,” he said.
He said several drivers have disobeyed the construction signs or workers directing traffic, leading to arguments, and several of what he called “altercations.” They had already planned to close that street during working hours, but the hit and run happened just one day before it went into effect.
“That’s always the challenge with any construction project is trying to get it done safely but also efficiently without disrupting too much traffic. You have emergency response needs, we have mass transit needs in these areas,” he said.
He said traffic control signs are there to protect drivers and construction crews, and he’s asking people to pay more attention.
“Be patient. Some of these public infrastructure projects just take a little bit of time for us to upgrade our facilities to ensure everybody’s safety.”
Now, the site will be completely closed to traffic during working hours. If you live there, construction crews will help you get home. But in the meantime, Cowan is asking drivers to take alternate routes.
“The one thing I would stress to people during this time while Race Street is getting worked on – Vine Street very nearby [is] another collector road that has capacity for cars to use that as a thoroughfare between Florida Avenue and Windsor would be a good option,” he said.
Cowan said the project shouldn’t be delayed by the incident, and it should be completed by the end of the year. We reached out to Urbana police but they have not been able to provide any more details.
Starting Wednesday, South Race Street will close at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., between Windsor Road and George Huff Drive. Outside of those hours, it will remain partially closed. If driveway access is restricted, the city said there is nearby street parking. It will be in effect until Monday, November 14.