The Jones County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to close the intersection at Old Dubuque Road and Highway 151 during their June 23 meeting.
The supervisors, on the recommendation of the safety committee created to address the intersection, approved the closure of the intersection Monday, Aug. 3. Jones County Engineer Derek Snead said that in discussing the closure date, the August date was proposed date worked because it got the intersection closed before school returned. By scheduling it for August, it allowed time for both the word to get out to the public and to coordinate with the Iowa Department of Transportation for the needed signage warning of the impending closure and for the gate to be secured to close down the intersection.
“The longer people realize that’s what’s going to happen, (we’re) less likely to have confusion,” Snead said.
The intersection at 130th Street and the median would remain open.
Sheriff Greg Graver said there was a recognition that if nothing was done in the interim at the local level, there was a high likelihood that the DOT would close what they could control, which is the median. The move to close one side of the intersection allowed that and the eastern intersection to remain open.
In revisiting public concerns from the joint meeting in January between the city and the county, there were four main concerns that Graver saw: the loss of county involvement after the intersection was closed, losing emergency access, losing the east side connection and concerns of having no plan moving forward if the intersection was closed.
Graver said the steps taken addressed that: the Jones County Engineer’s Office developed the initial concepts for the future plans of the intersection and will continue to be involved in the process, the gate set to be put up at the intersection would be openable by emergency personnel in case of emergency, the closure of just the west side allows for access to the east side to remain, and the city has taken steps to continue to bring the plans for the intersection to fruition by approving the contract for a consulting engineer at their June 22 meeting.
The concept for the intersection includes an overpass bridge to connect the west and east side of Highway 151 in between the current intersection and Circle Drive. The proposal also includes the creation of a roundabout northwest of the current intersection, connecting Parham Drive, Old Dubuque Road and the overpass bridge, with a spur to the west going over the creek.
The city and the county each control one side of the road, so Supervisors Joe Oswald asked what would happen if the city council did not approve the closure of the intersection.
“If that happens, I will be pursuing a closure of the median,” Graver said.
The Anamosa City Council was informed of the plan to close the intersection Aug. 3 during Mayor Rod Smith’s report during their June 22 meeting, and it will be on their agenda July 13.