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Avenue Petition

Travis Wiemann of Floyd stands next to the intersection of the Avenue of the Saints and Quarry Road for which he started a petition urging the Iowa DOT to take action to reduce accidents.

CHARLES CITY — A group of North Iowans will attend a state meeting next week to make the case for an overpass near Floyd.

A group will have 15 minutes at the Iowa Department of Transportation Board of Commissioners meeting in Sioux City on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to detail why an overpass at Avenue of the Saints and Quarry Road should be placed on the agency's 5-year plan.

The Floyd County Board of Supervisors phoned the Iowa DOT during a meeting Tuesday, asking to be on the agenda. 

"I think our effort, collectively, would be a lot better if we got our state representatives, senators and a delegation of concerned people to attend that meeting," said Floyd County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Kuhn. 

The board also voted to present the Iowa DOT with a letter outlining why it believes an overpass with exit and on-ramps should replace the current at-grade intersection.

Chief among the concerns are the current semitrailer traffic going to and from the nearby Valero ethanol plant, future traffic that could be generated from a Love's truck stop under construction at the intersection and the community's overall concerns about the roadway.

Though the intersection has been a concern to many for years, the effort to get the overpass approved and on the Iowa DOT's 5-year plan found new energy after 23-year-old T.J. Houdek was killed at the intersection on July 18.

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Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling for increased safety measures at the intersection.

Many of approximately 120 people who attended a community meeting about the intersection last week signed hard copies of the petition, which was created by one of Houdek's acquaintances.

The Iowa DOT has taken steps to increase safety at the intersection, such as adding center turn lanes. 

And, though it has not approved an overpass, the state transportation agency has begun the process to build one should the estimated $18 million project get the green light. 

It finished a required environmental impact study in June and will present its preferred design alternative for an overpass/interchange at a community meeting in November.

The preferred design was created with DOT staff input and feedback from two designs presented to the public in June 2012, said Peter Hjelmstad, DOT field services coordinator.

He would not release details of the preferred design alternative on Tuesday, saying it would not be announced until the public meeting in November.

The two design proposals unveiled four years ago differed in how traffic entered and exited the divided, four-lane highway, but both called for Avenue of the Saints to be elevated with the crossroad running underneath.

Both designs also would close the other at-grade intersections in Floyd.

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