Northwest By-Pass Of Oskaloosa Gets Corridor Protection

Potential U.S. Highway 63 bypass of Oskaloosa.

Potential U.S. Highway 63 bypass of Oskaloosa.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Iowa DOT Commissioner Tom Rielly was busy answering the phone on Friday morning at his downtown office.

Rielly is in the insurance business, is a former state senator, and now sits on the Iowa DOT Commission as vice chair.

He took part in the recent discussion with the rest of the commission to put in place a corridor preservation zone for what is currently being examined for development.

In October of 2017, it was announced that the project had cleared the environment study, which is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles wide. The bypass would connect U.S. 63 diagonally northeast to southwest with IA 163. The northern boundary of the study area is located about 1,300 feet north of 193rd Street & U.S 63 and is approximately 1,500 feet wide. The eastern boundary of the study area follows U.S. 63 from north of 193rd Street to 210th Street. Then the eastern boundary of the study area crosses farmland diagonally to 230th Street before heading south and ending about 1,500 feet south of Old Hwy 163. From this southern boundary, the study area crosses IA 163 where IA 163’s alignment becomes north-south. The southern boundary follows due west about 1.25 miles to the western edge. The western boundary, in general, crosses farmland diagonally from about 200th Street to 210th Street and then heads south to 228th Street where it generally ties into IA 163 approximately 2.5 miles west of the Oskaloosa corporate limits.

Rielly said the corridor preservation zone is part of the long-term plan. “For years… decades we’ve had congestion downtown. “It’s a safety hazard, it’s congestion. You see an awful lot of trucks coming through. This is just another step in the direction of trying to alleviate some of that congestion in downtown Oskaloosa by all those trucks.”

“It takes a long time to get things done,” said Rielly on the length of time it takes to get road projects completed. “It takes a lot of money, but it also takes a lot of study.”

Rielly said that studies were done to examine the best route to divert traffic around Oskaloosa.

“You need public input,” added Rielly. “There’s been public input. We’ve had public hearings.”

“The northwest route seems to be the best option for alleviating that traffic out of downtown Oskaloosa, and just creating a bypass around Oskaloosa for 63,” added Rielly.

Rielly explained the corridor preservation zone passed by the DOT Commission is “another step in the process to say, since there’s potentially going to be a road here, there’s not going to be any more development in this corridor basically.”

Local Oskaloosa officials told the commission in Clinton that the bypass is needed to divert truck traffic in order to make it safer for motorist and pedestrians in Oskaloosa.

At the meeting in November of 2017, some rural Mahaska County residents expressed their concerns about the project, and how it would impact their land, and access to their homes and fields.

John DeRooi of rural Mahaska County could be losing ground from two area projects, the regional airport, and the northwest bypass. “I’m very unhappy. I really get hit here,” said DeRooi, who says he could lose approximately 75 acres of “Grade A” land for the bypass project.

There is no official time frame for the development of the bypass if it was to happen, but best estimate says it could be at least a decade before motorists would begin to use it.

Posted by on Aug 19 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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