Oct. 19, 1958: The first segment of the U.S. Highway 20 expressway opened east of Moville.
At the time, perhaps, a young boy may have watched the construction and heard his parents discuss the project, which would soon, they said, bring a four-lane highway across north central Iowa.
Our hypothetical boy is now well into adulthood, with sons and grandsons of his own. But that portion of the expressway still ends in the same place as it did 54 years ago.
However, at long last, progress is on the horizon.
Continuous construction has added more than 65 miles of expressway to the U.S. 20 corridor since 2000.
Today, another 26-mile segment will open to traffic.
To celebrate that development, the U.S. 20 Corridor Association has scheduled a dedication ceremony for 10 a.m. today on the highway near Early in Sac County.
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Gov. Terry Branstad; Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds; and Paul Trombino, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation; are expected to attend.
The new four-lane section extends between Iowa Highway 4 near Rockwell City and U.S. Highway 71 near Early.
It is the second-longest continuous segment of four-lane highway to open in Iowa since the interstate highway system was built, according to Shirley Phillips, the president of the U.S. 20 Corridor Association.
Most importantly, the opening of this section beings the U.S. 20 project within 50 miles of completion.
The positive economic impact of a four-lane Highway 20 on the region cannot be overstated. One need only to travel the existing freeways and expressways of Iowa to see first-hand how development follows traffic infrastructure.
The Messenger applauds the continued development of this vital corridor.
And, as a postscript to our hypothetical Moville resident, take heart: Paving for the 11.5 miles from the east end of the expressway to Correctionville is programmed for 2016.