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      Fort Madison Bypass opens

      The first cars have gone on the Fort Madison Bypass.

      A viewer contacted us Monday morning as the Northbound lanes of U-S 61 opened up to traffic.

      Southbound traffic lanes were opened later in the afternoon after all the necessary details were worked out.

      From the Keokuk Daily Gate City:

      The Iowa Department of Transportation announced this afternoon that construction of U.S. 61 on a relocated alignment around the west and north sides of Fort Madison, commonly referred to as the Fort Madison bypass, has been completed and the roadway is in the process of being opened to traffic.The entire roadway was expected to be open by 4 p.m. today.Located in Lee County, the 9.5-mile bypass project is intended to reduce congestion and motor vehicle crashes in Fort Madison, while improving local commerce and providing a boost to economic development and tourism in the Iowa-Missouri-Illinois region.Grading and culvert/bridge work for the Fort Madison bypass was completed in 2009 and 2010; paving was completed this year.Funding of four grading and structures projects related to construction of the bypass was received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Iowa received a total of $358.2 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration for highway restoration, repair and construction as part of the Recovery Act.