According to insurance industry statistics, the average U.S. driver will inevitably get into at least one car accident every 17.9 years. However, just because the insurance industry says you’re bound to get into a car accident doesn’t mean you’re bound to cause a car accident.
Sometimes, a road can be so bad that at times it’s seemingly impossible to avoid an accident, as may be the case with the Gold Coast neighborhood.
According to a recent report from the Chicago and Illinois departments of transportation and the Chicago Park District, the Oak Street tunnel leading, which is still used by about 22,000 people a day, should be considered “functionally obsolete.”
There are several problems with the road. Firstly, the maximum speed at which a car can drive safely there is 30 MPH, yet drivers have been clocked going as fast as 68 MPH. What’s more, the lanes are narrower than the average road’s, measuring only 10 feet wide.
Between 2007 and 2011, there were more than 750 accidents there, half of which were collisions with barrier walls.
There’s also Lake Shore Drive to worry about, which is so bad that there’s an average of three crashes per day there.
Now, the Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation led “Redefine the Drive” is trying to solve the long-standing issues of the Gold Coast area.
Currently, the project is in the first of its three phases that will identify the necessary changes to the stretch of road and ultimately select a plan. According to Jae Miller, a spokesperson with the initiative, this selection won’t be made until late 2016.
The cost of the whole project is still up in the air, though. Miller said that cost will definitely go into the hundreds of millions, though. Once funding for the project has been obtained, construction will begin in 2020.
“Anything to lessen [the number of crashes] I think would be a huge benefit to all of our resources, from the police to everybody who is dealing with an accident per day there,” said Gail Spreen, president of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents.
In the meantime, motorists would be wise to drive as safely as possible. According to Edmunds.com, the best ways to avoid accidents include avoiding the fast lane, scanning the road ahead, and being wary of blind spots.