$26M Project of U.S. 20 Near Dubuque to Make Road Safer

Fri February 19, 2016 - Midwest Edition

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A dangerous stretch of U.S. 20 is set to be reconstructed in the next few years in an effort to improve traffic safety near Dubuque.

The Telegraph Herald reported that the Iowa Department of Transportation plans to smooth out a curve of the four-lane highway at a Peosta intersection beginning in 2019. The $26 million project also will add a wider median, enabling turning vehicles entering U.S. 20 to cross only one direction of traffic at a time.

The department's data shows that wrecks in the area led to 18 injuries in the past five years. Property damage is estimated at more than $366,000.

Jeff Ernzen was seriously injured in one of the area's 34 wrecks between 2010 and 2014. His sister, Angie Recker, said it's time to address the roadway's dangers.

“At least it's on the docket and it's being worked on,” Recker said. “There's so much traffic going in and out of Dubuque, it's just a bad area, especially if there's fog or bad weather.”

Recker collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition highlighting the intersection's dangers.

The department's transportation planner for the area, Sam Shea, said the bulk of the construction will happen in 2019. The department will begin acquiring some right-of-way properties, including a few established homes and undeveloped land, in the upcoming fiscal year.

The project is the first of three phases of traffic improvements in the area. Officials would like to install a diamond interchange, but funding hasn't been set aside for it.