Pilot-to-permanent street closure implemented on Heivly Street

By Denise Lana,

Street closure in front of Decorah City Hall.

The short branch of Heivly Street that cuts in front of City Hall and intersects Claiborne Drive has been closed by the city.

Travis Goedken, Decorah City Manager, explained, “For years, that part of the triangle had been closed down during Nordicfest, and this year, we decided to keep it closed once the festival was over.”
According to Goedken, the main reason for the short branch closure is due to years of traffic issues and confusion caused by the Y intersection located in front of City Hall where Heivly and Claiborne meet.  In 2022, the City’s street department initiated a pilot-to-permanent lane closure on Fifth Avenue where it intersects College Drive to help widen the field of vision for drivers and make pedestrians easier to be seen.  Similarly, a pilot-to-permanent street closure has been implemented here to give the city the opportunity to close down a questionably-hazardous street and assess changes in real time.
“We are piloting to have this street closed while we observe traffic flow in this area,” Goedken expressed.  “We decided to close it before school starts to give folks time to get used to it.”
The intersection is situated near the heart of the school district, with John Cline Elementary and Decorah High School only a block away.  The closed branch of street has garnered notoriety over the years due to drivers traveling east on Heivly to Claiborne (and vice versa) using it as a cut through to bypass slower traffic.  Whether from a lack of clear visibility of other vehicles or the close proximity of where the branch and Heivly street both intersect Claiborne, the cut through has resulted in numerous close calls and near misses.
“We aren’t sure what, if any, change this street closure will prove necessary; a four way stop?  A round-about?  Maybe no change at all,” Goedken summarized.

As of now, the end date of the street closure has not been set, and it will remain closed until further notice.

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