- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

MONTROSE, Iowa (AP) - Officials in the small southeast Iowa city of Montrose are considering closing a half-mile section of road that borders the Mississippi River because of deteriorating conditions.

Montrose Mayor Bob Reid said a 3-foot hole recently opened on River Road. He’s especially fearful following a rockslide this month in Burlington and last weekend’s massive mudslide in Washington state, the Hawk Eye reported (https://bit.ly/1hxWT86 ). Reid said it would be on his conscience if he didn’t try to fix the problem in Montrose.

“It’s a dangerous situation. You have people driving 50, 60 mph to school or work and then they drop into a 3-foot hole,” he said.”

Reid addressed county officials during a meeting Tuesday. Officials have temporarily filled the hole, but it will cost an estimated $1 million to repair the road. The city doesn’t have the funds, and Reid said he’s reaching out to various entities to find a solution.

“Somewhere there’s got to be money to fix this road,” he said. “We flat out just don’t have the money. Not even for a 80-20 match.”

The newspaper reported the road has a history of mudslides and rockslides.

City officials will either close the road or designate a slide area with a 15 mph speed limit. The Montrose City Council said it would close the road if there’s an incident involving a slide, Councilwoman Mary VanPelt said.

Ernie Schiller, chairman of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, said it would be devastating if the road between Montrose and Keokuk closed.

“It affects quite a few county residents. On the county level, I’m not sure what we can do,” he said. “I always take tourists up River Road when they visit Lee County.”

Reid favors designating a slide area. He said a road closure would limit access to Montrose and hurt the city.

“People drive up the River Road, and they eat at Montrose diners,” he said. “Closing the road is going to hurt Montrose, and I don’t want to do that.”

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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