CLINTON COUNTY, Ill. – Some residents living in Clinton County believe mine subsidence contributed to Monday’s train derailment, just outside the village of Albers.
The railroad officials have yet to say what caused the problem. Local officials say the investigation is not completed.
“We do not know the results of what happened, and we do not know it’s mine subsidence,” said Albers Mayor Steve Shoemaker.
Several residents contacted FOX 2 pointing out recent mine subsidence had been reported nearby, including an area of Illinois Route 161 between New Baden and Albers. Some ground has shifted above the site of an old coal mine. The mine subsidence is an issue in many parts of Illinois.
Kris Lowe lost her vehicle to flooding when she hydroplaned and crashed while driving along that stretch in July.
“I think I spun one time and ended up in the ditch,” she said.
July’s rainfall was historic, but Lowe believes recent mine subsidence has made flooding worse along Route 161.
“I worry about it all the time,” she said.
State Rep. Charlie Meier, (R) Clinton County, is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the mine property owner, ExxonMobil, to find solutions. He said flooding has been a problem.
“When it rains, we have to have four pumps out there. IDOT is very good about that. As soon as there’s rain in the forecast, they’re lining up pumps,” Meier said.
An IDOT official said part of finding a solution is making sure whatever actions are taken do not cause more harm than good to the entire area.
Meier said he expects progress to be made after nearby crops are harvested.
“Hopefully, after the crops are out, we can get the highway fixed, and it will stay sound,” he said. “There is no danger of the highway collapsing and there being a big hole in the ground. IDOT monitors that to make sure that is not happening.”