The Great River Road received a $346,160 grant from the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Scenic Byway Program on Thursday. The funds will be used to install 738 new signs along the 328-mile Iowa portion of the scenic byway, part of which runs through Clinton.
The new signs will bring the Great River Road up-to-date with the signage used on the other nine scenic byways throughout Iowa.
The application for the grant was submitted by the Iowa Mississippi River Parkway Commission. Edith Pfeffer, who serves on the commission as the Clinton County representative, said she was pleased when she found out the signs would be brought into compliance with the others.
“It’s really wonderful. I’m very excited we received the funding to identify our Great River Road,” Pfeffer said.
Pfeffer said she found out about the grant while she was in a byways facilitator training.
The announcement was made Thursday by the US DOT.
In a press release issued by the DOT, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the various grants awarded will improve transportation systems across America.
“Investments in transportation projects like these create jobs right away in communities across the country, and lay a foundation for future economic growth,” LaHood said.
The Iowa Mississippi River Parkway Commission was awarded a National Scenic Byway Program grant in 2011 to update the corridor management plan. The plan will update the vision for the Great River Road and hopefully bring the stakeholders throughout Iowa together to ensure the long-term vitality of the road. The new signs are in line with this vision, Pfeffer said.
Both Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, supported the applications.
“I’m extremely pleased that Congressman Braley and Congressman Loebsack supported the applications for the Great River Road, which runs through their districts,” Pfeffer said.
All of the six projects that received DOT funding in Iowa were related to the Great River Road. The entire road spans 10 states and more than 3,000 miles.
The Experience Mississipi River group estimates millions of people travel the road each year.
Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich applauded the group responsible for attaining the grant, which he believes will encourage more people to visit the area.
“Anything that involves the highway involves tourism and brings people to Clinton,” Vulich said.