- Editor’s Note: In recognition of National Work Zone Awareness Week and in memory of Kane County Division of Transportation worker Steve Chidester, KDOT and Kane County Connects is posting a series of articles this week to promote work zone safety and to show respect and remembrance for the families of victims who have lost their lives in work zones in Kane County and throughout Illinois.
When Kane County Division of Transportation volunteers and friends conduct a clean-up along Harter Road on Saturday, April 1, it will be for more than the simple satisfaction making a rural Kane County road a little more beautiful.
It will be for remembrance. And for love. And for the chance to honor a co-worker who lost his life too soon.
On May 19, 2016, KDOT Highway Maintainer Steve Chidester was part of a two-man crew fixing a pothole on Harter Road when he was hit by a northbound 1999 Ford F250 driven by a 27-year-old Kaneland man. Chidester was pronounced deceased at the scene, leaving his wife, Lorraine, and a Kane County community to grieve.
“For Steve’s supervisors, there is an especially heavy weight,” said KDOT Director Carl Schoedel, who will be among the volunteers working at Saturday’s cleanup event. “When you send someone out to do a job at the beginning of the day and they don’t come back at the end of the day, it is a deeply painful event. Not that we could have necessarily prevented that specific incident, but it’s hard to be responsible without feeling responsible.”
That’s one of the reasons KDOT will be conducting a number of public service events during coming week — National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 3 through April 7.
In observance of the annual spring campaign, Kane County is making efforts to get the word out that “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands.” You will see message boards along Kane County highways this week reminding drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Additionally, roadway safety professionals across the country are encouraged to wear orange on Wednesday, April 5, to show their support of work zone safety and to show respect and remembrance for the families of victims who have lost their lives in work zones.
The part of Harter Road where Chidester lost his life has been adopted by KDOT employees as part of the county’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Co-workers chipped in to adopt the 3.8-mile segment from Scott to Seavey and to erect signage in memory of Chidester.
- Feature Photo Caption: Kane County Engineer and KDOT Director Carl Schoedel and Maintenance Supervisor Scott VerVynck pick up trash on Harter Road as part of the county’s Adopt-A-Highway program.
- Kane County Mourns Sudden Death of Road-Maintenance Worker Steve Chidester
- Kane County Employees Adopt A Highway in Memory of Steve Chidester
- Kaneland Cross Country Team’s 50th Anniversary T-Shirt Honors Steve Chidester
Read the ‘Remembering Steve’ Work Zone Safety Series
- Today — KDOT’s April 1 Road Cleanup Has Deeper Meaning
- Monday — What KDOT Is Doing to Improve Work Zone Safety
- Tuesday — ‘Remember Steve’ by Wearing Orange Wednesday
- Wednesday — What Kane Drivers Can Do to Make Zero Fatalities a Reality
- Thursday — Remembering Steve: Let’s Bring National Work Zone Memorial to Kane County