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Wonder what happens to road kill?

April 10, 2008 at 07:29 AM

GOODFIELD—That’s not fresh fertilizer on the vast surrounding fields motorists have been smelling the past several weeks on Interstate 74 near the Mackinaw River.

It’s not a hog farm or a dead skunk, either.

At least, not one dead skunk. Ever wonder where roadkill goes?

The answer in this case is a ditch on a barren patch of the wooded median between I-74’s directional lanes a half-mile east of the Goodfield exit. It’s about 40 feet long, 7 feet wide and at least 7 feet deep.

How much deeper depends on how many layers of dead deer and other animal carcasses are hidden by those at the surface of the murky water that’s collected in the mass grave that’s laid open for at least three weeks.

“I can’t say how long it’s (the grave) been open,” said Shane Larson, District 4 operations engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation. “We hope to close it this week.”

IDOT crews haven’t closed it sooner, he said, because the winter’s rugged weather has taken a toll on the district’s equipment and a loader needed for the job hasn’t been available.

The result is the uncapped grave, in which at least 18 visible deer and likely other animals, killed along I-74 and other state-controlled roads in Woodford and Tazewell counties, lay rotting.

The pit, just east of the limited access lane through the median where Illinois State Police troopers are known to park in wait for speeders, remained unknown until very recently to the Woodford County sheriff and health departments.

“We got a call Tuesday” from an anonymous person, said Health Department Director Laurie Schierer. “It was the first time we got any whiff (of news) that it was there.”

By Wednesday, the department had contacted the Illinois Department of Agriculture, asking it to monitor IDOT’s actions regarding the grave in the scope of the Illinois Dead Animal Disposal Act, said Eric Lane, the county environmental health director.

Area municipal water sources are not endangered by the watery grave, even though more rain predicted this week will fill it higher until it’s covered, Lane said. Surrounding wells are all uphill from the site and “are very deep,” he said.

Larson said the mass grave—the only one he knows of on the long I-74 median- - is one of several options used by IDOT and other governmental bodies to dispose of roadkill.

“What we do with (carcasses) varies. Sometimes we bury them individually, sometimes in mass graves. Some counties down south (in Illinois) compost them with woodchips. They’re incinerated if there’s (an incinerator) available,” he said.

“Sometimes we’ll just pull them off to the side of the road and let nature take its course.” In this case, “We just haven’t been able to cover (the grave) as quickly as we would’ve liked.”

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Interesting.  I expected to read that Blojovich had sold the road kill and given the proceeds to his friends & family.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/10 at 08:04 AM

I doubt Blago even knows what roadkill is.  I doubt he sees much of it from his airplane when he is coming thru the slums of South Illinois (remember that is anything south of I-80).  Lets pile it all in his front yard and hope the Chicago cougar comes and visits him and eats him mistaking him for a rat but That would be hard to do considering he is as low as a rat.  RECALL BLAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/11 at 10:41 PM

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