Iowa officials consider widening U.S. 61

| 4/20/2005

Three out of four ain’t bad. Two out of four, however, is the number of lanes U.S. 61 has been stuck with in the far southeast corner of Iowa. And for a grass-roots group lobbying in the state, it’s just not enough to handle the highway’s traffic flow.

The appropriately named the Highway 61 Coalition presented its case to the Iowa Transportation Commission at a meeting April 12. The problem, they say, is that the last leg of the highway – about 36 miles of road stretching from Keokuk to the Missouri border – needs to be widened to promote economic development, safety and an improved total transportation infrastructure, according to The Hawkeye.

The group, which is composed of representatives from city and county governments, chambers of commerce and private firms, is asking the state commission for 100 percent support of the project, the Fort Madison Daily Democrat reported.

The group has also ranked the projects in the order they would like to see them completed, starting with a bypass around Fort Madison, second with an improved roadway between Burlington and Newport Junction, and third with four-lane construction continuing south to the Missouri border, according to the Muscatine Journal.