GALVA, Iowa -- Motorists are getting a winter reprieve from a planned two-year detour of U.S. Highway 20 in Ida and Sac counties.
A Highway 20 detour route opened in October and was set to run for two consecutive years. That resulted in a plan where an estimated 2,500 vehicles per day are being detoured on county blacktops between Galva and U.S. Highway 71 north of Early.
The detour between Galva and Early ended Dec. 9, with traffic going back to the main highway lanes through the winter. The detour to be reactivated in the spring.
Iowa Department of Transportation District 3 traffic planner Dakin Schultz said the original intent was for the detour to stay on through the winter months. However, Schultz said, "The contractor felt it would not be detrimental to their operation to remove the detour over the winter and we felt it was a better situation for motorists."
IDOT is in the final stages of a $286 million project to widen the remaining 40 miles of the highway to four lanes between Moville and Early by late 2018.
Galva, pop. 434, and Schaller, pop. 772, are the two towns on the detour. The route takes motorists about six miles out of their way.
"It will be nice not having to work around the detour for the winter," Galva City Clerk Anita Brandt said in an early December interview.
For eastbound motorists, it follows Ida County Road M25 north to Galva, then east on Ida/Sac county road D15 to U.S. Highway 71, which is about three miles north of U.S. 20 and the town of Early. At Early, eastbound traffic links up with a four-lane Highway 20 that runs to the state's eastern border.