Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Series of road improvements planned in Washington County
WASHINGTON — Washington County Supervisors approved a series of road improvement items Tuesday morning. The actions range from accepting a bid on a bridge project to green lighting countywide safety plan updates.
County joins statewide effort to update safety plans
In 2021, Congress allocated over $1 billion to roadway safety funding through the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grants. The money comes on the condition of up-to-date road safety plans, something many Iowa counties either haven’t written or haven’t revisited in years.
Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius said the local government fell into the latter category.
“We’ve looked at that grant program to try and apply for some other money on things like paved shoulders,” he said. “They require a local road safety plan, which we have, but they require a couple specific things in those plans to be updated that we aren’t current on.”
Supervisors agreed to join a statewide effort to draft and update local road safety plans, which aims to make all 99 counties eligible for the federal funds.
“We can’t apply for any of these other funds until our plan’s up to date,” Thorius said. “This resolution just says we’re going to work together and do this … so that we’ll be able to work toward obtaining other funds for safety improvements across the county. There will be no cost in this initial application.”
Paved shoulders coming to part of G-36, Rumble strips to Riverside Road
On the issue of safety plans, the county signed off on two items for long sought-after improvements to high-traffic roads in and out of Washington.
The first was a federal grant application for $500,000 to pave the shoulder along three miles of G-36 (220th street.) Thorius said the project would prevent hazards along the riskiest parts of the stretch from Redwood Avenue to Highway 218.
“It’s where a series of S-curves and switchbacks go back and forth,” he said. “We have a significant issue (in) that area, we struggle with the whole road, but even more so with that whole stretch.”
The second road safety improvement was a funding agreement for a centerline rumble strip along Riverside Road. Thorius said the state DOT had approved an allocation of $88,000 for the project, enough to cover the entire street from G-36 to Riverside.
Supervisor Stan Stoops said the project would help drivers with impaired vision.
“I’ve had an issue with my eyes and driving, and I like hearing that when I get over too far,” he said. “On a rainy night when there’s a lot of glare, that means something to me.”
Bids accepted for bridge near Wellman
A bridge abutment project over Smith Creek on Dogwood Avenue west of Wellman hit the deadline for bids 30 minutes before the supervisor meeting.
Out of four bids, the county awarded the project to Washington business Iowa Bridge and Culvert LLC, at $76,760. Thorius said the cost was lower than expected.
“Our estimate for this project was around the $85,000 range, so we’re happy with where the numbers came in at,” he said.
Construction on the bridge expected to start this fall.