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‘It is a problem’

Stretch of Hwy F70 in Monroe addressed as safety concern

A stretch of roadway that has been a concern for decades in Monroe, safety issues were once again discussed by the Monroe City Council for those traveling on Highway F70 going in and out of the city. Councilman Sean Wilson brought up the topic during council discussion at the regular November meeting.

“The times I have witnessed it has been during the summer on multiple Sundays playing golf. I could hear a particular vehicle, and I wish I saw it but you could hear it,” Wilson said. “We all know the difference of what a car sounds like and you hear it go through the gears in that amount of time you know it’s going.”

An area filled with residences, hills and speeds ranging from 25 to 45 miles per hour, Wilson is concerned about those trying to drive safely, especially going in and out of driveways.

“Not only do you see it but you hear it. We have, I don’t know if it is one person or multiple people but we have vehicles that are flying down F70 in a 35 mph zone doing well past 100 mph,” Wilson said. “I don’t care if you’re the greatest driver on the planet, if you are going that fast and someone backs out of a driveway, you have zero time to react and make the correct decision.”

Monroe Police Chief Nick Chambers asked if there is a certain day or time of day that has been identified as problematic. Wilson said he noticed when golfing on Sundays but he is not always close to the area.

“F70 has already been a problem,” Wilson said. “When I was in high school and junior high, there was a number one and number two painted on top of the hill because there was a quarter-mile stretch where you could see traffic coming and you could drag race. It has always been kind of a hot spot. We all know how populated that stretch of highway is, well all the way to Des Moines and beyond.”

According to Wilson, a person has been identified as someone who is speeding in the area. He said the household has been contacted but was told “well, that is what kids do.”

“We’re talking about people who know they are doing wrong and they are doing it anyway,” Wilson said. “That’s not what kids do, that is a felony. It is a problem that has been brought up by, I’d say every house on that stretch except maybe one.”

Chambers said he generally sits in that area at least once a week, if not more frequently. While no action was made on the matter, it is set to be discussed again at the December meeting, as well.

In other business:

• Monroe Public Works Director Marc Van Wyk said he was in contact with MidAmerican Energy about adding street lights on the cemetery road. He was set to meet with a representative Nov. 12 to discuss the idea. Adding street lights to the street was discussed at two previous meetings due to safety concerns in the area. Many people travel the road walking to running with most of the street dark due to few lights in the area.

• Brett Armstrong was approved for hire as a full-time police officer for the city.

• The open public works position at the city was discussed by council members and city staff. It was decided to discuss job duties with the applicants before setting up official interviews with the council.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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