Road planners and conservationists have come to a crossroads over a historic bridge in west central Iowa. Eureka Bridge over the Raccoon River near Jefferson was built in 1913, the same year the cross-country Lincoln Highway route was designated. The heaviest traffic has since been shifted to Highway 30, but Eureka Bridge still carries a county highway. Greene County officials have been hoping to make changes to that county road since the early 90’s because of tight curves on either side of the bridge. Several plans, including rerouting the road are under consideration. Iowa Lincoln Highway Association president Bob Stinson hopes the historic structure will be left standing. Bob Stinson, president of the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association, describes the Eureka bridge over the Raccoon River on the original Lincoln Highway route. It’s a five-arch spandrel, concrete fill bridge, and though he admits it doesn’t meet today’s highway safety standards, it was inspected in 1995 and he says at that time the architectural engineer deemed it safe.Stinson says the situation shows how much cars and roads have changed.He says it’s kind of funny, because when the Lincoln Highway was first conceived and designed, it was proposed to be the ideal road for traffic conditions and safety. Greene County Engineer Wade Weiss (wice) says officials have brought in outside help to study the issue. The engineer says they hired a consultant who’s worked with this kind of project, to assess its place in transportation now and in the future. Greene County will present options to local residents during a meeting next week. Also complicating efforts to make the road safer and keep Eureka Bridge, landowners on the river have submitted an application to the D-N-R to make their property a state preserve, which would limit possible changes to the highway.
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