A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled in Fairfield this morning  to mark completion of the four-lane highway from Des Moines to Burlington. Brent Willett, executive director of the Fairfield Economic Development Association, says one immediate benefit will be a reduction in travel time between the two cities and all points in between.

He says it’s a "tremendous asset" for tourism, economic development and recreation. The 165-mile four-lane highway also completes the last of six "priority corridors" identified for four-lane conversion by the Iowa Transportation Commission in 1996. This newly-completed corridor includes Highway 163, 63 and 34. Willett says the decreased travel time benefits Des Moines to Burlington traffic.

He says there are a lot of business and governmental decisions made in Des Moines and it makes things "a whole lot better" for communities in the southeast to have easier access to the state’s largest city. Willett says plans are in the works to expand the corridor even farther.

He says there’s still about 25-miles of two-lane traffic still to be dealt with. The ceremony is to begin at 10 AM at the new Fairfield Arts and Convention Center downtown.