Dubuque County roads in disrepair need funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County roads in disrepair need funding


Throughout Iowa, counties and cities are facing roads in disrepair - and a shortfall in funds needed to fix them.

The Governor's Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Commission is in the process of gathering input on this problem, statewide.

Dubuque County is one of many forced to prioritize road repairs and tighten its belt.

Swiss Valley Road is one of the roads on top of Dubuque County engineer Bret Wilkinson's fix-it list.

"Yeah, Swiss Valley Road is asking for some repair work to be done," Wilkinson said." We would like to improve the road condition and lay some asphalt on the road and bring it back to a more drivable condition."

Darleen Dyer has lived along Swiss Valley Road for more than 40 years.

"We have the cracks, and you do have potholes down on the side and everything," she said Wednesday, outside her home. "I do believe that with the traffic that's on this road, with the park that we have here and the nature center, that we do need some improvement."

Wilkinson said a study shows Dubuque County is currently spending $11 million on its road system annually and in order to start making road improvements, the county would need to put between $15 million and $16 million into the system.

In order to afford the high-priority repairs, county supervisors are looking to cut back in other areas.

"One option that the board is talking about and that we are considering is turning some of the lower-volume roads back to gravel, " Wilkinson said.

It might not be a popular option, but it would save money. He said maintaining just one mile of seal coat road costs $10,000 more per year than maintaining a mile of gravel road.

Another idea discussed by lawmakers is raising Iowa's fuel tax.

"With the current income that we have the road system is deteriorating, and an increase in gas tax should at least level that out and maintain the road system as we currently have it," Wilkinson said.

In Dubuque County, like in the statewide discussion, these are still just ideas.

After a series of public input meetings, the Governor's Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Commission plans to draw up recommendations to present to the Iowa Legislature in January.

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