SIOUX CITY — Saying the intersection is dangerous and creates a backlog of cars, a delegation of Floyd County officials on Tuesday asked Iowa Transportation Commission members to intercede with a fix on well-traveled U.S. Highway 218.
“It is an unsafe intersection,” Floyd County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Kuhn said.
The intersection Kuhn was referring to is Quarry Road, which takes vehicles to the south. The Avenue of the Saints — a four-lane highway separated by a median — brings high-speed traffic east and west through the intersection.
Kuhn said the county appreciates having a modern four-lane highway but stated the intersections create problems in Floyd, population 330.
“There are many decision points here. Motorists have to make a split-second decision at this intersection as to who has right of way (to proceed),” Kuhn said.
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“It is really confusing on who goes first,” Floyd County Engineer Dusten Rolando said.
The Floyd County officials made their presentation during a monthly DOT meeting in Sioux City. The Highway 218 topic was slated for discussion but not a decision, so commission members did not respond during the meeting.
Kuhn said a petition with more than 3,000 signatures of people wanting intersection changes will soon be presented to the commission.
Rolando said the best change for the intersection would be an overpass.
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Floyd County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Crooks said there have been 35 crashes at the intersection since 2011. Crooks said people also sometimes turn into the wrong lane and drive into oncoming traffic.
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T.J. Houdek, a 23-year-old Charles City man, was killed in July when he drove a motorcycle in front of an oncoming semitrailer.
Kuhn explained that the intersection is very close to the nearby Valero ethanol plant and a Love’s Truck Stop that is currently under construction. He noted that about 190 trucks carrying corn come through the intersection daily.
Floyd Mayor Trevis O’Connell said he lives a block from the intersection and often watches the congestion.
“Almost daily you see near-misses out there,” O’Connell said.
State Rep. Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, once represented Floyd before redistricting. Byrnes said Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino emailed him Sunday with a list of short-term improvements to help with congestion in Floyd.
Byrnes said he appreciates those steps, but added that more is needed.
“I’ve got a lot of friends and families that go through that intersection every day ... We need to find that final solution and resolution for that intersection, and not just kick the can down the road,” Byrnes said.