Highway 20 prepares for expansion, but parts remain unchanged
For more than five decades, officials have been working to widen all of Highway 20 to four lanes.
There is still 43 miles left to complete the project.
City, county, and state leaders gathered today to discuss those miles at the U.S. 20 Association Annual Meeting in Sioux City.
Friday, the Department of Transpiration gave a more detailed plan on one final stretch of the project.
When you drive down Highway 20 from Moville to Correctionville in Iowa, you'll notice there are two lanes and in some parts three lanes, but Iowa DOT officials said that will soon be fixed.
DOT officials said they'll begin work on this section of the highway to make it all four lanes beginning next year. Officials expect work to be completed by 2018.
But, this won't finish the more than 50 year project that has been hampered by money issues.
"As far as funding goes, the gap that's left is from Highway 71 to Correctionville," said DOT Official Tony Lazarowicz.
Even though, plans are in the works for this part of the highway that spans from Correctionville, IA to Early, IA, there is still no set date and it may take years.
U.S. 20 Association President Shirley Phillips said she hopes it's sooner rather than later.
"As far as we're concerned, it can't start fast enough," said Phillips.
The U.S. 20 Association has made progress converting parts of the highway to four lanes. In November, the ribbon was cut on a more than 26 mile stretch from Early to Rockwell City.
"We're very encouraged and certainly with the traffic count since that stretch has opened and certainly what we're hearing from business and industry," said Phillips.
Phillips said even though she's positive, she remains realistic.
"We've been promised so many times that this road would be completed that anything they can do within our lifetime is wonderful," said Phillips.
"There's a lot of projects throughout the state that are competing for the dollars that are available," said Lazarowicz.
And, it's these dollars that are the main delay for the 32-mile stretch.
"We've done design work on it. We've been out to the public before, but we don't have design to the point that we know what the right away is. We're waiting for funding," said Lazarowicz.
Phillips said she thinks the best way to resolve the issue and get proper funding would be to raise the gas tax in the state of Iowa, but that's no easy task either.
The U.S. 20 Association is hoping people come out to voice their opinion about the part of the highway that remains two lanes at the next meeting, which will be held at the Correctionville Community Center at 312 Driftwood Street in Correctionville, IA on Tuesday, July 16. According to the DOT, the public is invited to attend anytime between 5p.m. and 7p.m.
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