Iowa is one step closer to adding a second statewide four-lane, east-west roadway. A 20 mile long stretch of four-lane Highway 20 was opened Wednesday afternoon between Moorland and Rockwell City.

Shirley Phillips, president of the U.S. 20 Corridor Association, hopes the move will provide an economic boost to Webster and Calhoun Counties. The towns along the new section of four-lane U.S. 20 include Moorland, Rockwell City and Twin Lakes. “So, we hope those communities are impacted favorably from the road,” Phillips said.

Efforts to expand Highway 20 to four-lanes across the state started in the 1960s. Phillips says the next stretch of roadway, between Rockwell City and Early, could open in 2013.

Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting marked the first significant new stretch of Highway 20 to open since 2003. “We did a ribbon-cutting south of Iowa Falls for a stretch we opened up there, which was 26.9 miles,” Phillips said. “That was in August about (seven) years ago. So, we were ready to get another stretch open.”

The completion of four-lane Highway 20 from Dubuque to Sioux City has been a top priority for the Iowa Department of Transportation, but Phillips says the project is at the mercy of federal funding. “If the funding holds out, we hope to have the whole corridor open by 2018,” Phillips said.

Phillips also serves as executive director of Sac County Economic and Tourism Development.