$13.75 million in renovations coming to Business 61 in Fort Madison
FORT MADISON, Ia. (WGEM) -
Multimillion dollar repairs are coming to Business 61 through Fort Madison thanks to state money.
City officials say they are looking to not only improve roads, but safety as well.
Since the bypass around Fort Madison was completed in 2011, the old Business 61 doesn't get as much traffic as it used to.
Residents agree it still is a major hub to get from place to place.
"We still get quite a bit of traffic that does come through this town," Chuck Nelligan said.
The state decided back in December to hand over Business 61 to the city and City Manager Byron Smith says the state provided money for repairs along with the deal.
"We did a little negotiating and finally came down to $13.75 million to take over the five miles of roadway," Smith said.
The exact plans are not finalized on how to spend the money, but they are looking into a complete overhaul of the road from 2nd Street west to 18th Street because Smith says it's in the worst condition.
Smith says traffic studies are being done to see if certain stop lights are still needed along with taking a closer look at certain intersections to improve safety.
"Those one-way pair segments," Smith said. "We're looking to see if we can make some changes to see if we can put two-way traffic back on those to make it a little less confusing to drive through that area."
Nelligan owns High Tech Automotive just off Business 61 and says he's happy the state is investing money into the aging road.
"That way you're not getting an old road and then the city having to come up with the money to pay for the repairs," Nelligan said.
Smith says they plan to hold public forums to get input about how to use the money to improve the road. Construction on the project isn't set to start until next spring.