Sunday, December 9, 2007


Both directions of the Bishop Ford Freeway reopened Saturday morning, a day after the highway was shut down for hours when a dump truck slammed into an overpass at 115th Street.

The Illinois Department of Transportation removed a 9-foot-wide concrete deck and a beam on the south side of the bridge Friday night before deciding it was safe to reopen the freeway's northbound lanes just after midnight, IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said.

The westbound lanes of 115th Street over the freeway were also cleared. But the eastbound lanes of 115th Street remained closed Saturday, he said. IDOT is considering making the two westbound lanes into one lane traveling in each direction, he said.

The agency has not yet determined the extent of further repairs to the bridge, he said.

Officials had originally said the mess on the Bishop Ford would not be cleared until the end of the weekend.

The dump truck hit an overpass support structure around 10:30 a.m. Friday, separating the bed from the cab and spilling gravel onto the roadway.

The truck's driver, Donald C. Hoth, received 13 citations.

MANSFIELD -- Village officials are wondering what to do with stray dogs after losing an arrangement with Piatt County.

"We have no outlet for dogs when we pick them up," said trustee Don "Duffy" Deffenbaugh. "We're on our own to find a place to take them."

Previously, the village kept dogs for up to three days in a local facility. If they were not claimed, the dogs were sent to a Monticello animal hospital, where eventually they were euthanized.

Since the village is incorporated, it is responsible for taking care of the animals. Mayor Steve Gaines plans to see whether he can work out a deal with Champaign County, noting such an agreement existed years ago.

Burn piles

Village officials are taking steps to limit what residents are adding to the burn pile at the village building. Maintenance supervisor Bob Henderson wants to rope off the area and put up signs to cut down on traffic.

"I want to put a cable in and fix it where people can't get in there," Henderson said.

Residents have been putting leaves in the burn pile and burning other items frequently, Henderson said. "People come in at all times in the evening," he said.

Without an ordinance, trustee Bambi Roy said, the rules can't be enforced legally. But most board members agreed it was a way to begin addressing the problem.

Crossing guard

Mansfield no longer will have a school crossing guard next year after the Illinois Department of Transportation changed some rules.

IDOT said Blue Ridge school district needs to bus students from the north side of U.S. 150 to schools. The distance is less than 1.5 miles, but IDOT said it's dangerous for students to walk across the highway and railroad tracks.

Gaines said school zone lights would continue to be used.


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