Midway Road homeowners concerned as traffic from nearby road closure increases

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Residents who live on Midway Road in Marion are worried someone is going to get hurt because of the increased amount of traffic their street is getting.

“They hit the curve which is banked and the washboard and then they wipe out and go right in the ditch down here,” Pam Squires-Wolfe said, while pointing out where this could happen.

Squires-Wolfe has lived on Midway Road for 11 years and said she’s watched drivers end up in the ditch as they maneuver the sharp ‘S’ curve. Midway Road switches from hard surface to gravel and back, which can catch unfamiliar drivers off guard. It’s been a concern prior to construction nearby, but right now, Squires-Wolfe said additional traffic has made things much worse.

“Now that County Home Road is shut down, people maybe aren’t familiar and we’ve got at least twice the amount of traffic,” Squires-Wolfe said.

A roundabout is going in at County Home Road and C Avenue, which is typically a very busy intersection.

“We have a posted detour, but a lot of local traffic is taking the quickest rock road as an alternative, which is Midway Road,” Garret Reddish, assistant engineer for the Linn County Secondary Roads Department, said.

Melenie Gagnon has lived on Midway Road for eight years, and she said she worries someone will get hurt.

“People do not pay attention to the speed signs, the curves, I’ve seen several accidents almost to happen,” Gagnon said.

Traffic is especially heavy on weekends as people come from the nearby Tuma Soccer Complex for games, according to homeowners.

“We have the soccer traffic from Tuma that the city has detoured people on their website down this road. So every weekend we have three- to four-hundred cars unfamiliar with this road mixed in with the traffic that’s already on this road,” Squires-Wolfe said.

Initially, homeowners were dealing with a consistent cloud of dust. Linn County came out and put down calcium chloride dust control, but with County Home Road construction expected to last as long as October, neighbors are concerned. They’d like to see more signage and ideally want the road to get seal coated. People on Midway Road have even offered to pay for it if need be.

“It would be nice if they would either, we pay to seal coat it and they maintain it or help us maintain it. Or, they seal coat it,” Squires-Wolfe said.

The county views seal coating as a more long-term form of dust control, and they told us it’s not something they typically do unless a road sees at least 400 vehicles a day.

“I think that’s one thing residents think of it as hard surface, it’s almost a pavement to them but in reality we use it as a form of safety, dust control,” Reddish said.

People who live on the road told us they are worried about safety and they’ve asked county to step in.

“Is it going to take a serious injury to get anything done?” Squires-Wolfe asked.

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