Dubuque Swaps Property With Iowa D.O.T. to Help Fund Southwest Arterial

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter


By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa - In a first of its kind move, the City of Dubuque and the State of Iowa swapped property on Thursday. It's part of an on-going effort to build a bypass around Dubuque.

In order to complete "the Southwest Arterial" the city and state are re-naming some sections of highway.

Highway 52 north of Dubuque will become Highway 3. Highway 136 between Luxemburg and Dyersville will become Highway 52. Highway 20 in Dubuque County will become 20/52. Highway 52 will also include the new Southwest Arterial.

For the past 37 years, Gary Childers has called a historic house on Highway 52 his home. Soon he'll have a new address. But he's not moving.

Childers said, "I write down Highway 52 North Durango, Iowa. So it will have to be changed to Highway 3 North Durango, Iowa. "

During an official change of jurisdiction ceremony, state transportation leaders said the funding for what is now their project is secure. The Department of Transportation has locked in at least $15 million per year, for the next several years.

Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino said, "With the Southwest Arterial that is already built in to those figures. That is why from our perspective we feel confident about it. "

The soon to be six mile stretch of highway will take drivers from the west side of the city to the south end. The D.O.T. expects businesses to pop up nearby, but the road will be a true arterial.

"I mean it will be a state highway so we want to not connect it with a lot of traffic signals and other things, "said Trombino.

City leaders say perhaps the biggest advantage will be relief from traffic congestion. That includes truck traffic on Highway 52, both in the city and the county.

Kelly Duetmeyer, Executive Director of East Central Iowa Intergovernmental Association said, "Right now Highway 52 deteriorating and needing a lot of repairs. Some of the traffic will be removed off that road so that maintenance level won't be as high as it has been in the past. "

But Childers isn't so sure he'll see fewer trucks.

"It might get the truck traffic that's headed to Davenport or somewhere South, but even the ones going to Dubuque, if they're not outlawed they'll still use it," said Childers.

According to the Department of Transportation the Southwest Arterial should be completed sometime in 2018.

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