By Randy M. Cauthron, Spencer Daily Reporter
Dating back decades, there has been a push in northwest Iowa for the state to complete the U.S. Highway 20 corridor. The proposal would expand the two-lane highway to four lanes from Interstate 35 to Sioux City.
Plans were recently announced by the Iowa Department of Transportation, in its five-year-plan, to complete the final 30.5 miles from just west of U.S. Highway 71 to Sioux City by the end of 2018.
Many view the addition of two lanes in each direction as an opportunity for additional economic growth in the Upper Midwest. A dramatic increase in traffic counts along the most recently completed segments of four-lane U.S. 20 – between Fort Dodge and the U.S. 71 exit – has been accompanied by business start-ups along the corridor already.
But will the additional east-west travel lanes provide any benefit to the Iowa Lakes Corridor, which begins a few miles north of U.S. Highway 20 and continues to the Minnesota border?
Kiley Miller, CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, believes it does.
“Intuitively yes, it’s positive,” Miller suggested, noting that he hasn’t done any specific impact analysis on the matter since taking over leadership of the Corridor. “We have advocated for the passage for some time. Any time you can add to the infrastructure like that it’s great”
Despite the fact that Spencer is 50 miles north of U.S. 20, City Manager Bob Fagen agreed. “I think it is important for us. That’s the closest four-lane highway we have in the state.”
The Corridor CEO continued, “It could possibly impact trucking rates. The more traffic we get flowing through this area, the more it could affect rates for companies shipping to and from the Corridor.”
“Specifically,” Fagen commented, “if we’re going to be able to recruit businesses with truck traffic, we need to have access that is as quick as possible. Having 20 four-lane from the east to the west of the state is going to help with that.”
Reprinted with permission of Spencer Daily Reporter