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Local News

December 12, 2011

Councilman starts petition to get highways changed back to four lanes

CENTERVILLE — A city councilman has started a petition drive to try to get state Highways 2 and 5 running through Centerville changed back to four lanes. The petition also wants consideration given to changing two traffic signals to single aspect.

Councilman Edwin Brand said the decision to do the petition was based on the public's dissatisfaction with the current three lane configuration.

"I think we've got enough people in town and the surrounding communities that genuinely want this changed back," Brand said during an interview Thursday at a local fast food restaurant. "I think when they pushed this through a few years ago, there wasn't a wide public knowledge that we had a choice in it. And we in fact did."

Brand said at the time the Iowa Department of Transportation's main and only concern was to have the intersection of Highways 2 and 5 reduced to three lanes.

"And somehow that got steamrolled into changing the whole stretch of highways through town on two and five," Brand said, even though public hearings were held but not well publicized or attended. "And the DOT sold it as it was going to be better traffic flow and be better for the people and people would like the change."

Thursday Brand said the petition drive to have the state highways running through Centerville changed back to four lanes had more than 500 signatures. He said the goal is to collect between 1,000-2,000 signatures.

"And I think now after a couple of years of seeing how it is, the people don't like the change," Brand said. "And I think we're going to have enough support from the public to take that into City Hall then and try and get something changed for the people."

Brand said once enough signatures are collected, he would take the petitions to City Hall and ask the other city councilmen to consider a formal public hearing. Then the city council would have an opportunity to vote on changing the highway lane configuration with the DOT making the final decision.

Brand said he has talked to a few of the representatives and the Iowa DOT concerning his petition.

"The DOT says that they did it for safety reasons and that they would like to be at the public hearing if we have one," Brand said. "But ultimately they have to consider if the city asks for a change, they have to consider it."

Changing Highway's 2 and 5 from three to four lanes in Centerville is a simple as repainting the lines.

The petition also wants the traffic signals at the intersections of Highway 2 and Drake Avenue and Main Street changed to "single aspect flashing red lights."

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