Highway 59 south of Denison scheduled to close after July 4 for DOT culvert replacement project
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Highway 59 south of Denison scheduled to close after July 4 for DOT culvert replacement project

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A sign of things to come

A sign foretelling of a project south of Denison on Highway 59/141 is not visible to motorists yet. The sign will be turned when the project commences. The Iowa DOT announced on July 7 that the temporary closure would begin Thursday, July 16. Photo by Michael Burg

The Iowa Department of Transportation is planning a culvert replacement project on U.S. Highway 59 at the junction with county road E53, located south of Denison.

Darwin L. Bishop, DOT District 3 construction engineer, said the project will require the closure of Highway 59.

Traffic will be detoured onto U.S. Highway 30 and county road E59.

E59, or U Avenue, is known locally as the Buck Grove Highway.

Bishop said the DOT hopes to start work on some detour improvements on E59 at Dow City this week. That work should take about three weeks.

The DOT plans to close Highway 59 and place traffic on the detour route after July 4.

Traffic should be detoured until approximately the middle of October.

Midwest Contracting, of Marshall, Minnesota is the contractor for the $805.159.41 project.

Curve location part of ongoing conversation

County road E53 (S Avenue), along with 270th Street, a gravel road, is located along the last curve on Highway 59 heading south out of Denison.

The curve has been the subject of an ongoing communication between the Denison Volunteer Fire Department (DVFD) and the DOT. The DVFD has asked for safety improvements not only for motorists but also for emergency personnel who respond to accidents at the curve.

Some of the communications in 2019 pointed to the need for more safety measures after the lives of three local women were claimed in an accident the morning of January 31 that year. Two local men were also seriously injured in the accident.

Local firefighters and emergency personnel can also recall a June 21, 2018, accident in which the driver of a northbound semi lost control of his vehicle. It left the highway, struck a number of signs at the intersection of Highway 59 and 270th Street and appeared to have rolled one time. The semi came to rest about 100-150 yards away from a waterway. The driver, who was from Ontario, Canada, was injured and transported to Crawford County Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Some safety improvements have been made at the curve in the past. In 2013, the DOT added rumble strips along the shoulders, and in 2015, larger, brighter signs advising a speed limit of 50 miles per hour and larger chevrons were added.

Roxanne Seward, traffic technician with the DOT office in Sioux City, said in a March 5, 2019, interview with the Denison Bulletin and Review that, after those improvements were made, the number of vehicular crashes reduced greatly, and from 2014 through 2018, no crashes with major injuries occurred.

After the January 31, 2019, crash, the DOT installed red flags to the signage.

Late this winter the speed limit sign for the curve was relocated to the south, as motorists go up a hill, as opposed to the sign being on the downhill side.

The culvert replacement won’t affect the curve, Seward said in the March 5, 2019, interview, but added that removing some trees at that location may help more sunshine get to the surface of the highway.

Some tree removal and shoulder widening will be part of the culvert replacement project.

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