For more than 20 years, the City of Blair has been working on a bypass project to alleviate the traffic issue through downtown Blair.
More than 15,000 vehicles pass through the downtown area per day — more than 20 percent of that is semi-tractor trailers.
Now, an end may finally be in sight.
Last week, the city unveiled its plan for the proposed Blair south bypass, which would begin at U.S. Highway 30 and Hollow Road, just north of Walmart, and stretch to the intersection of County Road P35 and U.S. Highway 75.
The one-mile, three-lane road will cost an estimated $14 million — 80 percent funded through federal resources and 20 percent a local match from the city.
This is a much needed solution for the City of Blair and it's time for it to move forward.
Downtown Blair has plenty to offer its residents and visitors, but with such a high volume of traffic, it makes walking or parking along Washington Street almost unbearable, not to mention dangerous.
The notion that this bypass would deter people from stopping and shopping in Blair is ridiculous. If anything, it would allow more people to stop to check out what the restaurants, shops and businesses have to offer.
The bypass would also cut down on the number of drivers who use Grant, Colfax, South and Butler streets as short cuts to avoid the highway, which in turn would decrease the needed repairs to those streets.
The south bypass makes the most sense to mitigate the traffic issue. Alternatives such as a north bypass or bypassing the city completely just aren't feasible and would only cost more money.
Blair is being offered federal funds to help pay for this project. If the city doesn't use them, the funds will go elsewhere, and the community and its residents will lose out.
If the city doesn't move forward or the project is scrapped for another location, it will mean completely starting from scratch. Will we have to wait another 20 years to see this come to fruition?
The time for the Blair south bypass is now.