In order to address the dangerous intersection at Old Dubuque Road and Highway 151 which has seen four fatal accidents in the last 12 years, the City of Anamosa and Jones County will be forming a committee to formulate a plan that will likely extend Old Dubuque Road to Parham Drive.
Both the city council and the board of supervisors unanimously passed the motion unanimously. Jones County Engineer Derek Snead said he believed the frontage road made the most since and would be pursued heavily.
No action was taken on the agenda item to vacate the county and city’s portions of 130th Street and Old Dubuque Road. After no action was taken to close the intersection, Sheriff Greg Graver addressed the public and the governing bodies saying, while he supported the frontage road, stood by his decision that the intersection should be closed in the meantime.
“At the end of the day, my decision was…if the closure and the change of that intersection resulted in the saving of one life, I would sleep better at night, and I was willing to risk that,” Graver said. “I know people may not support me in this decision, but, at the end of the day, I still live in this community, I still have family in this community.”
Graver said he did not want the same result of when the study was done on the intersection back in 2009.
“Ten years later, none of this, not one thing out of this, has been accomplished. Zero,” he said. “Doing absolutely nothing is not a solution. It’s time to stop talking about this and it’s time to start taking action to save people’s lives.”
Public opinion on whether or not to close the intersection was split. Bill Goodman said that he believed the intersection should remain open and the problem could be solved with increased signage, more enforcement and slower speed. Bonnie Rhomberg also opposed closure, saying people had to exercise more caution when it came to the intersection
Many who spoke, like Dave Remley, believed that the intersection should be closed only when the extension to Parham Drive was finished and Remley said that the project should be fast-tracked. Katelynn Buchholz, who lives on Council Street, said while she was all for closing the intersection, she was terrified of the possibility of increased traffic coming through the residential neighborhood if an alternative wasn’t completed first.
However, it was an issue that was not even unanimous within households. Karen and Mark Malejko disagreed about what should be done with the intersection. The couple have assisted with multiple crashes at the intersection there since they moved to their home on Old Dubuque Road seven years previously and Karen previously served on the Olin Ambulance service.
“You need to close this road and keep it closed,” Karen said. “Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.”
“I do think it should stay open,” Mark responded, after getting up to speak later in the meeting.
He said he believed that the possible ramifications needed to be explored before any closure, like how it would impact emergency response vehicles.