The association pushing to get Highway 20 extended to four-lanes across western Iowa says D-O-T monitors show dramatically increased traffic flow along the part of Highway 20 that has been widened ti four lanes. Shirley Phillips, president of the U.S. 20 Corridor Association, says just five D-O-T monitors show traffic increases along rural primary roads from January through September, and three of those are along Highway 20. “As more and more sections of Highway 20 open, the traffic increases,” Phillips says. “Tomorrow, at two o’clock, we’re going to be opening the (Highway 20) bridge here in Sac City so this will open up the route one more time to all those trucks that’ve been taking a detour for six months.” Traffic near Rockwell City on Highway 20 jumped nearly seven percent. Traffic near Jesup jumped nearly five percent and traffic near Webster City increased a whopping 14 percent from January to September. Phillips says attributes that increase to having Highway 20 a four-lane divided route now from Fort Dodge to Iowa’s eastern border. Phillips says D-O-T officials say traffic growth of one percent is significant, so the increases along Highway 20 are incredible. Phillips says if Highway 20 is expanded to four-lanes west of Fort Dodge to Sioux City, there’d be even greater growth. Phillips says a number of trucking firms say they’re cutting 80 miles off their west-to-east trips across the state because they no longer cut south on Interstate-29 to pick up I-80, then drive north on I-35 to jump on Highway 20. She says that 80-mile-reduction is saving some companies 20-thousand dollars a year in transportation costs. Phillips says the state of Nebraska is laying plans to make the Highway that meets 20 in Sioux City a four-lane roadway, and the state of Illinois has committed millions to make a four-lane road from Galena to Chicago. “Chicago is the main destination point for truck traffic,” Phillips says. She says as commerce travels from the northwestern United States to the Ohio Valley, a four-lane corridor that includes Highway 20 will cut miles off cross-country trips and help ease the overcrowding on Interstate-80. The U.S. 20 Corridor Association is asking the Iowa Transportation Commission to commit to quickly completing Highway 20 as a four-lane corridor all across the state. The U.S. 20 Corridor Association meets this Friday in Rockwell City to discuss strategy. The other two D-O-T traffic monitor sites along rural primary roads which recorded traffic increases in the first nine months of the year were near Eldridge on U.S. Highway 61 and near Belle Plaine on Iowa Highway 21. The D-O-T has 43 monitors posted along rural primary roads to guage traffic flow.
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