This could not wait until Sunday Morning Coffee. I had promised, last week, to share with you the plight of my friend Larry Cleverley and Cleverley Farms. The action by the Iowa Department of Transportation would destroy a high quality organic farm along with the family homes. In addition the project costs are in the millions of dollars. Why, when there is a simple logical answer? However, as you can see the Iowa DOT doesn't "feel" it will work. Here's the story:
A couple of weeks ago my friend Larry Cleverley received a notice that the Iowa Department of Transportation had decided to re-construct an intersection near Mingo, Iowa. The change, says the DOT, is necessary to fix a dangerous intersection which is among the top two deadly in the state.
The DOT will spend millions on the construction and the project will destroy the home and take much of the land which has been in the Cleverely Family for over 80 years. The action will shut down the organic, fresh, buy local farm.
Cleverley has suggested the Iowa DOT simply install a stoplight at the intersection. However Scott Dockstader, an engineer with the department has said a stoplight is not practical given the high rate of vehicle speed. He was quoted in the Des Moines Register, "We feel that a stoplight out in a rural area on a 65-mph road would not be safe. Not as safe as the interchange option we are proposing."
So, the question: Why wouldn't the DOT gradually reduce the speed limit and install a stoplight/flashing light?
Seems to work in other parts of the state. For example I've posted two
images of where this seems to work. Above is a rural stoplight located
on Hwy. 175 near Harcourt and below another on Hwy. 69 near Gilbert. However, according to the DOT, those types of
answers will not work here.
For those of you who would like to get involved here is a petition started by Larry hosted by Change.org.
Update: Moments ago I had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Dockstader of the DOT. We had a long discussion regarding "stoplights", "flashing lights", "interchanges" and best ideas. "The department has been looking at this issue for years", said Dockstader. "Whatever we do is going to impact someone. I can tell you that this is the most dangerous intersection in the state and something needs to be done." He told me that reducing the speed limit would not work (currently 60 mph) because of a lack of enforcement. And that setting out a stoplight would be contrary to the system the DOT follows. Here is that link.
I wonder if Jasper County might consider...traffic cameras to better enforce and monitor the area with regard to speed.
There is no projected timeline and Mr. Dockstader tells me it could be several years "at the earliest".