A northern Iowa road construction project that began in the 1950s has progressed a few more feet, with about 42 miles to go.

A ceremony was held Monday in the northwest Iowa town of Lytton to celebrate construction crews breaking ground on another segment of Highway-20 that will expand the highway to four-lanes through Sac County. Shirley Phillips, the executive director of Sac City-based “Sac Economic and Tourism Development,” is president of the U.S. 20 Corridor Association.

“We’ve seen growth along Highway 20 through eastern Iowa and certainly can fathom the amount of growth that we would expect along this corridor,” Phillips says. “All of the counties in northwest Iowa are anxiously waiting Highway 20’s completion.” 

About 42 miles of Highway 20 remains two-lane. Plans call for expanding the highway to four-lanes through northwest Iowa by 2018.  Siouxland Chamber of Commerce president Debi Durham is also a member of the state Transportation Commission and she was on hand for yesterday’s (Monday’s) groundbreaking of the latest four-lane segment of Highway 20.

“Certainly that four-laning from border-to-border is within our view and there is a commitment from this commission to ensure that that happens,” Durham says.

The Iowa D.O.T.’s most recent five-year construction plan included an additional $40 million for Highway 20. Durham says mobility is an important component of building a commercial and industrial network in Iowa, and Highway 20 fits into that vision. 

“Connecting our economic regions in the state to the national and the global transportation network — when you begin to weigh projects under the prism, then it begins to make sense,” Durham says.  “So it is important to have those corridors of feeding these commercial centers.”

U.S. Highway 20 goes all the way to Boston to the east and to Newport, Oregon, on the west.  Highway 20 enters eastern Iowa at Dubuque and exits western Iowa at Sioux City.  Highway 20 is a continuous four-lane from just northeast of Moorland in northwest Iowa all the way to Dubuque. It’s still a two-lane road from Moville through Sac City, but it has expanded to a four-lane expressway from Moville on to Sioux City.