Highlighting dangerous Springville intersection - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Highlighting dangerous Springville intersection


Sunday served as a serious reminder to some people of the dangers of one Eastern Iowa intersection.

A crash Feb. 4, 2009 killed 42-year-old Roger Bartels at the intersection of US Highway 151 and Springville Road.

Family members and friends gathered Sunday afternoon to remember Bartels on what would have been his 45th birthday. They also wanted to voice their concerns about what they say is a still-dangerous intersection.

It was a difficult day for Bartels' widow Amy Bartels. She and the other people there released 42 orange balloons into the sky, symbolizing the 42 years of Bartels' life. Three black balloons tied to a nearby memorial, which bears the letters R.I.P., represent the three birthdays he has since missed.

That February morning in 2009, Bartels was driving along Hwy 151 to his job in Cedar Rapids, as he did daily. His westbound car collided with a northbound vehicle, as it crossed 151. Since that day, there have been no major changes to this intersection, which has seen approximately 30 crashes since 2001.

Talks of improvements have included a J-turn-style intersection, which would eliminate the need to turn left across the busy four-lane highway. Folks in Springville shot down that idea, calling it too experimental.

Amy Bartels agrees that option was questionable. However, she said, three years after her husband's death is too long for the Iowa DOT to have made no changes.

"They've had so many proposals. They've met and met, and they have this idea and that idea, but they still don't do anything," she said. "In the meantime, there's more accidents and more people hurt."

Randy VanAmburg rode bikes with Roger Bartels and was a longtime friend. He said he knows firsthand about the dangerous intersection.

"I drive trucks for a living, so I'm running up and down through here quite a bit from Monticello, Cedar Rapids," he said. "Even back in the day, when they first built this, I had a guy pull out in front of me, even then."

Amy Bartels hopes the winds of change blow, bringing improved safety to the intersection.

"His death is so needless," she said. "If anything can come from it that could help someone else, I hope nobody ever feels what my family has felt and has this type of tragedy."

Until then, Roger Bartels' death is lifted up as a reminder of the dangers and tragedy that can blow through this particular intersection.

"We love and miss you, Roger. This is for you," Amy Bartels announced, as she and everybody else released their orange balloons. "Happy birthday!"

Some of Bartels' friends are holding a motorcycle ride later this month in his memory. The third annual "Riding in the Sky" ride is set for Aug. 27 in Monticello, where Bartels lived. All proceeds will go to the Monticello ambulance service. Bartels served there as a volunteer.

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