The Iowa Department of Transportation says Wednesday’s deadly crash near Springville occurred at one of the most dangerous intersections in rural Iowa. The agency is working to change that. Around 11-thousand cars pass through the intersection of Highway 151 and X-20 every day.
A crash there on Wednesday killed 42-year-old Roger Bartels of Monticello and injured 79-year-old Betty Merritt of Cedar Rapids. In the last seven years, there have been 25 accidents at the intersection. The D.O.T has funding in place to install a "J-turn" intersection – which would be new to the state.
D.O.T. engineer Jim Schnoebelen says it would eliminate direct crossing and could prevent 72% of all collisions. "It reduces the potential for major injury and fatality kind of crashes where we have severe crashes from t-bones or head-on type of collisions," Schnoebelen said.
The D.O.T. says it’s also better than the alternatives. An interchange like would take years to develop and a traffic signal would cause headaches with so many cars reducing their speed. Construction crews plan to break ground on the J-turn intersection next summer.