Dubuque facing changes in southwest arterial, US Hwy 52 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque facing changes in southwest arterial, US Hwy 52

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Some major traffic changes are in the works that would affect many travelers coming in and out of eastern Iowa.

For years now the city of Dubuque has been planning to build what's called the southwest arterial, creating a shortcut from US Highway 20 to US Highway 151/61, avoiding the downtown area.

"All that traffic - that truck traffic that wasn't making local deliveries - will be making that southwest arterial route around Dubuque and not coming through our city, and it will actually improve the traffic situation on US 20/Dodge Street," Buol said.

The City of Dubuque and area municipalities are now considering what is called a transfer of jurisdiction in order to expedite the construction of the southwest arterial.

At a meeting with Iowa Department of Transportation and Dubuque area leaders Thursday, Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol explained the proposed transfer of jurisdiction.

The Iowa DOT currently maintains the northwest arterial, which connects US Highway 20 to US Highway 52. The Iowa DOT also maintains US Highway 52 - particularly, in this case, the stretch that runs through downtown Dubuque, along Central and White Streets.

Iowa DOT officials say although their department maintains these two corridors, most of the wear and tear comes from local traffic.

Dubuque area and DOT leaders estimated the cost of maintaining the northwest arterial and US 52 through Dubuque over the course of the next 30 years practically equals the cost of constructing the southwest arterial -- approximately $130 million.

That is why the Iowa DOT and Dubuque leaders are proposing a swap: that the city takes over maintenance of the two corridors if the DOT funds the southwest arterial's construction and covers its future maintenance.

The DOT and Dubuque are leaders also want to re-route US 52 so all that heavy truck traffic doesn't come through the downtown area.

"It's a big change but something you can really see the benefits of," Buol said.

The proposal has US 52 continuing south from Luxemburg, meeting up with Highway 20 in Dyersville and then heading east toward Dubuque, where it will take the southwest arterial back to its path to Bellevue and Clinton.

The re-routing of US 52 would require federal approval.

Dubuque leaders say they don't yet have a timeline for the completion of the southwest arterial. Much of that is up to the Iowa DOT commission, which meets again next month and will likely address the matter.

For more on Dubuque's southwest arterial project, click HERE.

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