SPRINGFIELD – February 1, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today activated more than 500 Illinois National Guard troops to assist stranded motorists on several interstate highways as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to prepare for a large winter storm approaching the state. The troops will be stationed at rest areas along interstate highways, including Interstate 70 and those north of I-70, and will coordinate with Illinois State Police (ISP) to ensure the safety of travelers stranded along the roads.
“We must do everything we can to keep motorists safe during this massive winter storm. Illinois Department of Transportation crews are working non-stop to clear roadways, and the Illinois State Police will also be closely monitoring our highways,” said Governor Quinn. “These troops from the Illinois National Guard will help ensure public safety along the roadways, and I urge everyone to exercise caution when traveling.”
Illinois National Guard troops deployed for this mission are from the following units:
- The 2/106th Cavalry Squadron based in Kewanee, with subordinate units from Galva, Dixon and Pontiac, which are being deployed to the northern part of the state.
- The 766th Engineer Company based in Decatur, the 1844th Transportation Company based in Quincy and the 3637th Maintenance Company based in Springfield, which are being deployed to the central part of the state.
- The 634th Brigade Support Battalion based in Sullivan and the 233rd Military Police Company based in Springfield, which are being deployed to the southern part of the state.
In addition, an Illinois National Guard headquarters element is being drawn from the 65th Troop Command Brigade and 183rd Fighter Wing, both from Springfield.
Troops stationed along the highways will carry supplies such as water, snack bars and roadside safety tips to provide to stranded motorists. Guard members will also relay information regarding road conditions, vehicle accidents and stranded motorists to ISP officers working in the area.
”I’m proud that the Illinois National Guard is able to play our part in responding to this winter storm,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. ”Our Soldiers and Airmen respond to the Governor’s call to help in state emergencies just as we answer the President's call to serve overseas. It takes selfless citizens to serve in today’s National Guard, whether in Illinois or across the world.”
Governor Quinn activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield Monday afternoon to coordinate the state’s response to the storm. The center will operate around the clock until the storm threat subsides.
Illinois travelers can check on highway conditions by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or visiting the IDOT’s road conditions website at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and clicking on “Winter Road Conditions.”
For more information about winter storm safety, visit the Ready Illinois Web site at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.