GARNER, Iowa - After a fatal crash killed Andrea Young in December on Highway 18 near the intersection of Highway 69, the Garner City Council is looking to make changes.
“Stellar gets out at 3:30, the schools get out at 3:30, this road gets pretty congested around that time,” said Al Abbas, of Garner.
Abbas knows this section of road as well as anyone and he also knows the Young family.
“They’re struggling, just like any other family would be,” he said. We are all struggling.”
That’s why he is adamant the road needs to be changed.
The city council is looking to do just that by holding a special city council meeting to visit with the Iowa Department of Transportation. The Iowa DOT presented 7 potential projects and how to fund them.
DOT officials said the intersection is unique. In the last 11 years, there have only been 8 crashes but many of those have been severe. The department believes adding a center turn lane and moving all of the lanes south would help with visibility.
“I think it would help a little more if they put a stoplight but a center lane would definitely help,” said Abbas.
The project would be pricey for the town of Garner but not so much for the Iowa DOT.
That is why they are looking to get on the Iowa Transportation Commissions 5-year plan. But that is leaving the project in the hands of another board to decide the importance of the project.
“It would be prioritized against other opportunities of importance,” said Dave Little, Assistant District Engineer for the Iowa DOT. “This one does have great potential though. There are operational concerns, safety concerns and paving concerns. That makes the project attractive.”
The city estimates it would take 3-7 years or even longer to complete the project. After the loss of a close friend, Abbas isn’t pleased with the notion of a long wait.
“The timing might be a little long,” he said. “But it is what it is. Everything takes time.”
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