Ribbon Cutting Held Friday On Final 4-Lane Segment Of Hwy 20
(Holstein)-- State and local officials celebrated Friday the final work wrapping up on the 60-year project to widen Highway 20 from eastern to western Iowa.
The state passed a fuel tax increase in 2015 that the DOT says allowed work to begin on the final 40 miles from Early to Moville in western Iowa. The Iowa’s Department of Transportation Dakin Schultz says the state has worked since 2015 to resolve right-of-way purchases and design issues to get the last segment done.The 40-mile section is estimated to cost 326-million dollars according to a 2015 transportation progress report.
The president of the U-S Highway 20 Corridor Association, Shirley Phillips, is also a former economic development director for Sac County. She says they pushed to get the four-lane complete for a simple reason. “As we were looking to encourage businesses and stuff to locate in our area — we either had to be close to a railroad or close to a four-lane highway — which we had neither,” according to Phillipps. She says they are pleased to see their task finally complete.”By having a four-lane highway come through the largest quadrant of Iowa which is the northwest corner, it’s going to benefit all of the communities along the way,”Phillipps says.
The project began in the 1950s with individual sections being completed on opposite sides of the state – one east of Moville, the other near Dubuque. The longest serving member of the Highway 20 Corridor Association David Ehler is also the former City Administrator of Holstein. “It is just hard to believe that it’s taken that long to build a very important road,” Ehler said.
A ribbon cutting was held for the final 40 miles Friday afternoon in Holstein. The days was chosen for the celebration as the first three-mile four-lane segment of Highway 20 in Iowa east of Moville — opened on October 19th, 1958. With the final segment complete, the Highway 20 Corridor Association will dissolve in December.
(Story & photos courtesy Community First Broadcasting station KAYL in Storm Lake)