New Lanes of Highway 151/61/52 in Dubuque to Open Next Week

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa — A Dubuque highway that’s prone to crashes could get a little safer before winter weather sets in. Cconstruction on Highway 151/61/52 is at a point where workers can widen the road. The construction work started earlier this year where the three highways intersect. Since then drivers have had to put up with one lane of traffic in each direction. Many complain that the road is just too narrow.

For the past six months, twice per day, five days per week, Zach George drives to and from work, wondering if today will be the day he gets in a car accident.

“I hate it. Every time I’m on it, I’m mad," George said.

He thinks the most terrifying part of the construction zone is crossing the narrow bridge, facing oncoming traffic on a road that has no shoulder.

“You need to get really far to the right, and then once you hit the bridge, you need to come back over to the left. You’re kind of swerving toward traffic,“ he said.

Inside Happy’s Place, a restaurant that sits along Rockdale Road, business has been good since the construction started. Rockdale Road is a common cut-through many drivers started using as an unofficial alternative route.

“I don’t think I’ll miss it. It’s been an interesting conversation piece across the bar. Everybody’s got different stories about what’s going to happen here or what’s going to happen there,” Mark Hancock, Happy's Place owner, said.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is opening two 12 foot wide south bound lanes, each with a three foot shoulder next week.

That’s a big relief for drivers like George.

“Sometimes it feels like you’re driving in a video game,“ he said.

Dubuque police have responded to 18 accidents in the construction zone since May. Most of those were minor fender benders.

In May, a two-car accident in the construction zone killed 22-year-old Carter Giese. That happened just a few days after the construction started.
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