Dubuque County neighbors say intersection is unsafe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County neighbors say intersection is unsafe


People living along one intersection in Dubuque County say they want changes because the intersection is simply too dangerous. The intersection of Old Highway Road and Seippel Road has seen an increase in traffic due to more businesses and homes coming to the area in the past years. The increase in traffic means the once quiet neighborhood has a higher potential for crashes, according to the people who live nearby. Neighbors say the high speed limit and limited sight distance due to hilly terrain have interfered with many drivers line of sight, leading to many accidents.

Jane Boge lives a couple of houses down from the intersection, and says something needs to be done.

"At 3:30 p.m. when businesses let out from the Industrial Park, there are two cars side by side. Sometimes those cars inch out and inch out to get in front of each other and they will pull out into a car that's oncoming from Old Highway Road." said Boge.

Currently drivers on Seippel Road are required to stop before entering the intersection of Old Highway Road, while Old Highway Road has the right-of-way. Two years ago, red flashing lights were installed on Seippel Road to alert drivers of the upcoming stop signs located at the intersection.

Dubuque County Engineer, Bret Wilkinson, said county officials hoped the lights would lower the amount of crashes.

"New signage was put up, oversized signs. They were bigger and easier to see, and they are new signs so they are easier to see at night. We also put the flashing red lights on top of the stop signs to make sure that people don't miss the stop signs especially at night. We are trying to make sure that traffic on Seippel Road knows that they have a stopping condition." said Wilkinson.

According to our coverage partners at the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, the Iowa Department of Transportation has noticed a decrease in crashes at the intersection since the installation of the lights. From 2003-2009, 13 crashes were reported. After installing these new red lights and stop signs in 2011, that number began to drop. In 2012, a total of 5 crashes were reported.

"I think most of the time, most of the accidents that are still happening, the people are stopping at Seippel Road but then they are continuing on when they do not have good line of sight." said Wilkinson.

Even though the amount of crashes has decreased, the Dubuque County Engineer's Office says it is considering making more safety improvements to the area.

"We could make it a four way stop, but we are worried about that backing up traffic in all directions even more than it already does. Maybe the turn lanes could come out and that may back up traffic to some on Seippel Road but it may eliminate the problem of one vehicle blocking sight lines from the other." said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson says the county has talked about a number of options, but is trying to keep all options open. Neighbors hope improvements would allow their neighborhood to become a safer place.

"We feel the cost of putting up a four way stop sign or traffic lights or significantly reducing the speed on Old Highway Road will save a life, then it's worth it." said Boge.

The Dubuque County Engineer's Office wants to remind people, even though accidents have taken place at this intersection the intersection is still safe.

"While there are accidents there, the intersection is truly safe if you come to a complete stop at the stop sign like you should. There is good sight distance, if a vehicle is parked in the way and you can't see, the recommendation is to wait until that vehicle moves so you have line of sight. It is not that the intersection is completely unsafe, it is just causing accidents with some impatient drivers." said Wilkinson.

The Dubuque County Engineer's Office plans on reviewing information from the Iowa Department of Transportation about the intersection and see if there are any changes needed to be made to the intersection.

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