Construction crews started revamping Highway 52 in the spring of 2019. From Luxemburg to Dubuque the improvements included wider, bigger shoulders and easier turns. About 15 months later, the portion between Holy Cross and Rickardsville is finished with Luxemburg to Holy Cross yet to be completed.
This project had been a rumor for decades, but only started taking shape a few years ago.
“It was long overdue and has been needed for a long time,” Brian Maiers, mayor of Holy Cross, said. “I recall my dad saying they had talked about rebuilding the highway since 1965. Here it is 55 years later and it is finally getting done.”
The condition of the road was so bad, medical personnel could not get accurate vitals on patients while they were moving, so ambulances had to pull over.
“I was surprised to discover the starting point of the project was a letter I wrote to the DOT in 2001, shortly after becoming mayor,” Maiers said. “I wrote about the poor condition of the highway — how unsafe it was.”
The project took 18 years to get started, but progress is happening. The roundabout that sits along the highway and Holy Cross Road was finished before the 2019-20 school year, with the first phase wrapping up in the spring of this year.
While it still is an inconvenience to locals, Maiers is confident this will make the roadway safer.
“I’m sure people who live on the highway and need to use the road to access their properties think it’s a huge inconvenience,” Maiers said. “However, when it’s completed, the end result will be rewarding. When completed, the benefits will be long term.”
The contractor recently provided an update to the cities.
“Our intent is to have the pavers there the first week of October,” the message from the contractor read. “We will pave the mainline and shoulders, then finish up with the earth shoulder construction. We anticipate having the project finished before winter, depending on the weather of course.”
The highway is now wider, smoother and has softer corners. Maiers believes that regulars will not see much of a difference, but it will be safer for those not familiar with the road.
Updates are provided to Holy Cross residents a few ways. The city sends emails to residents who have an email, post it on the city’s Facebook page and include it in the city newsletter.