HOLSTEIN, Iowa (KTIV) – It’s been two years of waiting and taking a detour for motorists on one section of Highway 20.
Now, the wait is over, and another piece of the highway is officially open to traffic.
It’s a step forward in the project’s slow but steady road to completion with another section opening between Holstein and Early, Iowa.
“Essentially what happened today, approximately 19 miles of US 20 was opened from West of Holstein all the way to just East of Early,” says Dakin Schultz, Transportation Planner of Iowa Department of Transportation.
This section of the highway had at least a 20-minute detour during the construction.
After opening to motorists at 9 a.m. on Thursday, the town of Holstein saw a difference in just a matter of hours.
“We’re already noticing more traffic coming through and the stopping in we think we will see a lot more traffic once it’s open when they get the last 13 miles opened up here in the next couple weeks,” says Gary Brosamle, Facility Manager of Holstein Travel Center.
The opening of this section has many in the town sighing in relief.
“Speaking for probably everybody in town, very happy this has been a long time waiting for this, I was just a little kid when they started saying they were going to make 20 four-lane,” says Brosamle.
The opening also means safer travel, especially for larger loads.
“Well when people don’t know what’s happening and they try to go around us it’s a big hazard because there’s no clearance and there’s no vision around us so it’s pretty dangerous and it can cause accidents,” says Anthony Lawrence, pilot car driver of oversized windmills.
It’s safe to say people are happy to say the least.
“Oh I’m thrilled that this is over with, thrilled,” says Lawrence.
Transportation managers say making the highway into four lanes makes travel safer and more efficient.
In fact, the first section of the four-lane project was completed in 1958.
“You look at mobility, you look at economic development, very important aspects to just the vitality of not only Iowa but Northwest Iowa. And then you look at the safety factor and you’re able to separate the oncoming cars by a median in this case,” says Schultz.
One section of Highway 20 still remains under construction, that is Correctionville to Holstein.
The completion of the entire project is expected to be done later this month.