Stimulus puts Hwy. 20 project in fast lane - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Stimulus puts Hwy. 20 project in fast lane


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- 2017: That's the year the Iowa Department of Transportation has set for the completion of the four-lane Highway 20 project across Iowa.

But, with a recent acceleration in funding, many are hoping it will be completed sooner.

Work on the four-lane project of Highway 20 started back in the 1960s, and many are looking forward to the day that work is finally finished. Now, with federal and state stimulus money in hand, Highway 20 officials say it's moving some projects into the fast-lane.

"Every mile of Highway 20 has something going on," said Highway 20 Corridor President Shirley Phillips.

It's a sign the summer construction season is in full gear and state and federal funds are at work.

Right now, grading work is being done from Webster to Calhoun County. Officials say they're hoping to get construction completed up to Highway 71 by 2013.

And now, there's been a little more cash added to the pot. Officials says thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Highway 20 project is going smoothly.

"It was great to have that federal stimulus money come in and off-set some of these other projects so that we could move highway 20 a little bit further along," Phillips said.

The Highway 20 project will receive $228 million in federal stimuls dollars. That's not including the $50 million the highway system is getting from the state's own stimulus plan -- I-JOBS. Officials say that money will bump up construction.

"It's still a priority. There's still a great deal of funding that's being done. There's work being done. That hasn't changed," said IDOT commissioner Debi Durham. "We've seen the growth as the four-lane has been finished in eastern Iowa, and we want to experience that over here."

Seeing the success of the progress so far is making Phillips excited for the future

Phillips says, "We're looking at increasing our population as well as economic growth. We hope to continue to stimulate the bio-fuels, renewable fuels, the wind energy and all of those different economic development activities that occur along the four-lane."

Crews are working feverishly to get the next portion of Highway 20 four laned this year, and they're hoping recent wet weather won't set them back.

"Worst case scenario is that we'll be delayed, but we are still shooting, trying to get everything done so we have that stretch open," said IDOT engineer Tony Lazarowicz.

So far, officials say the weather hasn't caused any major set-backs. But, they say it all depends on how the rest of the summer pans out.

Online Reporter: Allissa Hopkins

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