- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) - Some residents of Sioux Center are concerned by the renewed study of a highway that cuts through the middle of the northwest Iowa town.

The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1dMNkpl ) that the Iowa Department of Transportation will provide $40,000 for a study of U.S. Highway 75.

That is making some residents uneasy, because the effort follows plans in early 2013 to spend $6.7 million on improvements that included widening about a mile of the highway from three lanes to five lanes through business and residential areas. After opposition from residents, the City Council halted the plan.

Rachel Hoogeveen, who helped lead opposition to the highway widening, said she hopes city officials will proceed carefully and involve residents in their decisions.

Hoogeveen and others argued that the earlier plan would reduce residential property values and hurt the business appeal of Main Street.

“We still want to keep our small-town charm,” Hoogeveen said.

Sioux Center City Administrator Paul Clousing said the study will include a traffic count and alternatives besides expansion of the highway to five lanes.

“Sioux Center is growing and we don’t know if that translates to growth in the highway (usage) numbers,” Clousing said.

When the council stopped the project last year, Clousing said, it was crucial to get community involvement before returning with another plan. He said he still believes officials must work with residents.

“We just want to determine what design might work best,” Clousing said.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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