Historic Auto Trails

Leo P. Rooff Expressway - U.S. 218 in Waterloo

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The following are excerpts from Rooff's obituary published, January 6, 2004 highlighting his career and noting the reasons for the dedication of this roadway in his name.

Road signs on Leo P. Rooff ExpresswayFormer Waterloo Mayor Leo Rooff, one of the longest serving and most respected mayors in the city's history, from 1974 to 1984, guided several projects of lasting benefit to completion for the entire metropolitan area; most notable was the $350 million interstate highway substitution plan under which the entire metro transportation system was reconstructed in the 1980s.

Years later, U.S. Highway 218 though Waterloo was renamed the Leo P. Rooff Expressway. The present-day growth of the Cedar Falls Industrial Park is also attributed to Rooff's interstate highway substitution plan.

"The DOT poured a lot of money into the road system in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area when Leo was mayor," said Rigler, who chaired the Iowa Department of Transportation Commission when the interstate substitution program funds were awarded. "It made all kinds of sense for Waterloo.

"Leo was a great mayor and certainly was good to work with at the DOT," Rigler added. "He's certainly going to be missed and he was a good friend."

Cedar Falls Mayor John Crews said the local highway system created through that interstate substitution program will be Rooff's longest-lasting legacy.

"It helped the whole area," Crews said. "The infrastructure was upgraded throughout the metro area. We got so many good internal roads in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, but we also got the bike trails started in a really big way and the lakes."


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