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Kendall County will allow roadside memorials —  but not build them

A car travels past crosses for two people who were killed along Wolf's Crossing near Douglas Road Oswego. | Sun-Times

A car travels past crosses for two people who were killed along Wolf's Crossing near Douglas Road in Oswego. | Sun-Times Media File Photo

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Updated: February 25, 2013 12:25PM

YORKVILLE — Kendall County officials will continue to allow roadside memorials, but are not interested in starting a county program to build them.

Members of the County Board’s Highway Committee recently discussed the possibility of a county program to erect roadside memorials for people who have died in car accidents — particularly drunken driving accidents — on county highways.

But Fran Klaas, county engineer and highway department director, said committee members decided it was something they “don’t want to pursue at this time.”

Highway Committee members did say they would continue to allow people to put up their own personal memorials. Klaas said it has always been highway department practice to be respectful of such memorials, as long as they don’t affect site lines along the highway, or get in the way.

“There’s one on Ridge Road I bet has been there nearly 20 years,” he said. “People have kept it up.”

Klaas brought up the possibility of a policy after he received a phone call from someone asking if the county had a program to put up memorials at the sites of drunken driving crashes where someone died.

Cook County has such a program if someone fills out a form and pays $150. The county will put up the memorial and maintain it for two years.

Klaas said the memorial notes that a drunken driving accident took place there, and who it was. It not only memorializes the person, it serves as a reminder against drinking and driving, Klaas said.

But Cook appears to be the only county in the state with such a program. Klaas said it was modeled after an Illinois Department of Transportation program, but that one also apparently only affects Cook County.

Klaas said he is sure private individuals will continue to remember loved ones killed in accidents.

“It hasn’t been a big deal to us to let them do whatever they want,” he said. “I’d rather have that than try to fit it into some program.”

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