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Montrose Road Repairs Remain on Hold

Jason Parrott
Montrose Mayor Bobby Reid says the large Road Closed sign has not stopped people from using River Road, which has been closed for months.

Montrose closed a portion of River Road south of the city in June after heavy rain washed away a portion of the street. It remains closed because the city has said it cannot afford to repair it -- those repairs would likely include stabilization of the hill above and below the road.

Mayor Bobby Reid said a temporary solution has been explored just to get the road open, but even that is up in the air.

“We are still in a dilemma,” said Reid. “One person tells me [Montrose] can go ahead and put a fix on it for a temporary thing and then another turns right around and tells me ‘Do not do that’ because if you do that and [the road] is open and being used, any chance of federal funding goes to the back burner because it’s being used, so what’s the big hurry on it. So I’m in a big quandary here and don’t know what to do.”

Reid said meetings about the road continue to be held, including one between the Iowa Department of Transportation and the federal Surface Transportation Board. He hopes to find out how that meeting and several others have gone.

In the meantime, Reid said he’s trying to show the people who regularly use that road that the city is doing all it can to get it open to traffic.

“The residents are frustrated with it, and I can certainly understand that,” said Reid. “We are working on it. We are not just saying, ‘Use the detour,’ we are trying to do something for them.”

He said the closure adds seven or eight miles to a trip to Montrose for people who might live only one mile away.

Reid said there are still some people who are not willing to use the detour, which he finds frustrating. Large barricades have been set up, blocking traffic, but people are ignoring them.

“Right where the slide area is, there’s most of one lane. They are having to drive off on the shoulder to get by the slide area and that only leaves them about a foot from falling into the slide. And there’s a big crack in the area that’s left, and it could go at any time," said Reid.

He said the Montrose Police Department has issued several dozen tickets to violators. He hopes that will encourage people to be safe and discourage them from using River Road for the time being.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.