Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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For Immediate ReleaseContact: Steve Kulm
January 29 2002847/705-4079

SCHAUMBURG, IL -- While the mountain slopes and sporting arenas of Salt Lake City are playing host to Olympic athletes next month, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s own world-class team will be in Utah working to keep a major interstate highway free and clear of any disruptive traffic incidents.

A four-man team from IDOT’s Emergency Traffic Patrol (ETP)-commonly known as the Minutemen-has been invited to assist the Utah Department of Transportation in its traffic incident management efforts during the Winter Olympics.

ETP’s regular job is to help keep traffic moving on Chicago area expressways by detecting disruptive problems and initiating quick clearance procedures to restore normal traffic flow.

"Our Minutemen are regarded as being among the best in the world at doing their job," said Bruce Dinkheller, IDOT’s Engineer of Operations in the Chicago area. "We are honored that they have been invited to demonstrate to a worldwide audience the significant skill they have in this field."

The IDOT team will be primarily responsible for patrolling and responding to traffic incidents on and around a 20-mile section of I-80 between Salt Lake City and Park City. The Minutemen are bringing with them one of their largest wreckers, one equipped with a 50-ton capacity rotating boom. This piece of equipment is designed to assist with accidents involving large trucks or buses.

ETP has nearly 60 drivers and maintains four heavy wreckers, 35 medium duty emergency patrol vehicles and a variety of other equipment in the Chicago area.

"We are well equipped to handle any situation in the Chicago area while our team is serving in Utah," said John G. Mitchell, ETP Manager.

IDOT also will provide training to Utah DOT personnel regarding strategies for responding to major traffic incidents on major highways.

The Utah DOT is paying for virtually all of the cost associated with IDOT participation.

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