CHICAGO (CBS) — It was called one of the most dangerous intersections in the state.
Last year residents living near the intersection at 99th and Ridgeland in Chicago Ridge told CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman they constantly worry about accidents.
“I’m fearful of someone getting hurt or dying,” said one resident.
And now, after neighbors complained to CBS 2 Investigators about all the accidents, the state has totally upgraded the once treacherous roadway making it much safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
And Chicago Ridge Mayor Charles Tokar is more than relieved that the project is finally done.
“Oh my God, thrilled. Thrilled,” said Tokar.
Police accident records obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators show there have been 162 accidents in the past five years with 43 of those involving injuries. Gino Amato saw many of the accidents from his balcony and tried to help one victim.
“Her body was mangled under the dashboard,” said Amato.
Efforts to get the desperately needed stop lights had stalled for years. But after CBS 2 did a story last year highlighting this dangerous intersection, things began to change.
“The squeaky wheel got the grease in this case and you and CBS are responsible for a lot of that,” Mayor Tokar told Zekman.
After four years of asking the state for a traffic signal, IDOT finally began construction this past spring, which also included new pedestrian walkways, street lamps and cameras for added safety.
Now Marlene Fitzgerald, a resident for 50 years said “We’re very happy. The whole block is very happy. It will probably save some lives.”
Amato, who first complained to CBS 2 about the dangerous intersection said the final results were far more than he hoped for.
“They did a great job,” Amato said.
As for Mayor Tokar:
“We appreciate you and CBS for shining a light on this. Thank you so much.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation spokesperson said there are about 300 intersections on state routes that have been flagged for safety improvements.