AGRIBUSINESS: Deadly Intersection Fix Could Take Farmer’s Land

Mingo native Larry Cleverley’s farm sits on Highway 330 in Japser County between two of the deadliest intersections in Iowa. As the Iowa Department of Transportation attempts to make them safer, the possibility remains that Cleverley may lose his land.

That was the subject of a public information meeting in Baxter last night. Iowa DOT has outlaid funding for the project in the department’s five-year budget, and has narrowed down all of the proposed projects to just two. One would take a minimal amount of Cleverley’s land and utilize J-turn intersections, while the other would require more land to construct an overpass. Of the two, Iowa DOT District 1 Engineer Scott Dockstader says the overpass will be safer, though verbal support at the meeting was higher for the J-turn option.

After the meeting, Cleverley was not optimistic

“I don’t want to make anybody mad, but I think this is just a dog and pony show. I think the DOT is going to do what they want to do. They can say that they’re reactive to public opinion, I’m hesitant to believe that. I’m really cynical when it comes to the DOT having been in a family that’s had to deal with them for so long.”

Some commentators at the meeting called for a third option, to make both intersections perpendicular to Iowa Highway 330, rather than the current 70-30 degree intersections. The change would improve visibility, but as Assistant District 1 Engineer Tony Gustafson observed, it doesn’t fix the problem of drivers darting across both lanes of traffic.

“We’ve looked at that also, the concern here is with the far side accidents. Folks are going through the first set of lanes and then there’re more severe fatal accidents, serious injury accidents that occurred on the other side of the intersection. Squaring up that intersection does not address just that incident with that accident would improve the sight distance somewhat.” He says, “But we feel one alternative with the J-turn which eliminates people from crossing directly through the median at the intersection and has folks basically do a u-turn or what we call a J-turn is a safer alternative.”

Gustafson says the DOT expects a project decision in early July.

2 comments

  • DOT Boondoggle

    Just 2 miles up Hwy 330 and within sight of Cleverley’s farm sits another DOT boondoggle: Engeldinger Marsh. The Einsteins at the DOT misspent $25 million building a 2-mile curve on Hwy 330 around the marsh. Whatever prairie fern, fauna and wildlife found at the 80-acre Engeldinger Marsh can be found at any 80-aces set aside in Iowa. Ipso facto. What a huge waste of tax payer money. Instead of Engeldinger Marsh, it should be called Dingleberry Marsh bec I’ve seen dingleberries on fat cattle in the feedlot during the wintertime that are more interesting and worth more than that worthless expensive quagmire.

  • Another DOT Boondoggle

    On Hwy 330 within sight of Cleverley’s farm sits another costly DOT boondoggle: Engeldinger Marsh. The DOT misspent $25 million building a 2-mile curve on Hwy 330 around that swampy ground. Whatever prairie fern, fauna and wildlife found on the 80-acre worthless quagmire can be found on any 80-aces set aside in Iowa. Ipso facto. What a huge waste of tax payer money.

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