Discussion continues of Old Dubuque Road

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver joined County Engineer Derek Snead in on the continued discussion regarding the possible closure of Old Dubuque Road in Anamosa. 

The two addressed the County Supervisors during their Nov. 19 board meeting. 

A map was presented to the board showing all fatal, major injury accidents, minor injury accidents, possible injury accidents, and property damage accidents from 2007-17. The intersection of Highway 151 and Old Dubuque Road is littered with a wide range of accidents, as well as three fatalities now since 2007. Those most latest being County Deputy Treasurer Shelli Gray. 

“That’s way high for an intersection like that,” said Snead. 

“By far, statistically and experience-wise, there is no comparison,” said Graver. “That’s the most dangerous intersection we have in the county.” 

He also dug into the DOT’s analysis they presented several years ago, outlining several options should Old Dubuque Road close. 

“There are a lot of different ideas, but the consensus is it’s a dangerous intersection,” continued Snead. “And it’ll continue to be no matter what you do.” 

Snead did speak with the DOT and is waiting to hear things from their perspective. 

“They understand it’s a dangerous location,” he said. 

Graver shared that of all the traffic deaths that occur in Jones County, 6.5 percent of those occur at this intersection. 

“Most of our intersections don’t have duplicate deaths, let alone multiple,” he said. 

Of those accidents classified as “derious injury/ incapacitating,” 8.6 percent have taken place at this intersection. 

In comparison to the dangerous Springville intersection, Graver said Springville has experienced one death in the same time Jones County had three at Old Dubuque Road. 

And while there is a mile stretch at Springville where drivers are advised to reduce their speed to 55 mph, Graver said the Old Dubuque Road accidents do not stem from speed issues. He said it’s a combination of a curve with four lanes of traffic and sight distance as vehicles turn onto Old Dubuque Road. 

“With this last accident that is still under investigation, I would be happy to share with you our findings so far,” offered Graver to the board. “It had to do with the other turning lane and more of a distraction amongst drivers; not a sight distance issue.” 

In terms of people in opposition to the road closure, Graver said it is not more convenient to take Old Dubuque Road versus the Highway 64 exit. Timing himself taking both routes, Graver said it took him just 11 seconds more to get to Casey’s on E. Main Street from the 64 exit. 

“So for people to say that it’s faster, it’s pretty much debunked,” he said. “Are we going to maintain this dangerous intersection or tolerate the amount of deaths and destruction by going out on Old Dubuque Road for 11 seconds of convenience?” 

For those going to the Fawn Creek Country Club (golf course), Graver said they could utilize Kaitlynn Avenue off 64 versus turning east off Highway 151. 

Closing the Old Dubuque Road intersection, Graver continued, would also benefit the schools and the traffic issues that ensue. 

“As elected officials, we need to keep in mind our overall mission is to provide safe roads, safe travel in Jones County. It’s obvious the only way to do that is to eliminate the risk out there and do away with that intersection,” urged Graver. 

Snead agreed that closing Old Dubuque Road/130th Street from all directions makes the situation safer for all. 

Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach questioned closing 130th from the east due to farm equipment wanting to enter the highway. Graver said there is so little agricultural traffic from that direction. 

“It’s not worth the risk,” said Graver. “I can’t leave that intersection open for two tractors a day. I can’t make that argument.” 

Graver and Snead said they expect some resistance, if any, from the state DOT, who’s invested money recently in updating the lights and signage at the intersection. 

“I just don’t see it getting any better no matter how many lights they put out there,” said Graver. “You don’t even know all of the near misses.” 

“If it was our road,” said Snead, “I’d close it tomorrow. But part of it is outside our jurisdiction.” 

The supervisors urged Snead and Graver to seek the City of Anamosa’s cooperation in the closure. 

“It’s a matter of people getting used to it and going the other way,” said Supervisor Joe Oswald. 

Graver and County Attorney Kristofer Lyons planned to meet with the Anamosa City Council at their next meeting (Nov. 25), as the city owns right of way there as well.


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