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Meeting held on expansion of Highway 30

Citizens interested in the proposed addition of two lanes to Highway 30, from Highway 218 to Tama, met at the Belle Plaine High School Library last Tuesday afternoon to view the proposed plans.

The Iowa Department of Transportation was providing information to the public at the meeting for the proposed four-lane expansion of the U.S. 30 corridor in Tama and Benton Counties.

In an information sheet from the DOT, the DOT stated environmental field reviews have started along the corridor in both Tama and Benton counties. Reviews will include investigation of wetlands, regulated materials, and other biological information (threatened or endangered plants and animals).

The told property owners, “You will be contacted to gain access to your property, if necessary. The Iowa DOT asks for your cooperation by allowing the study teams to access your property.”

Project history

A planning study for the U.S. 30 corridor through both Tama and Benton Counties was initiated in the mid 1990s. Some environmental field studies such as archaeology and historical investigations were completed during the initial study phase. Alternative roadway alignments were presented at a public information meeting in September 1999. The proposed concept for the improvements to U.S. 30 included upgrading the existing rural, two lane highway to a rural divided, four-lane highway generally following the existing alignment.

The proposal at that time was to add two new lanes along the north side of the existing roadway from the east corporate limits of Tama to just east of the Salt Creek Bridge. The new lanes would then transition to the south side of the existing highway and remain there to the end of the project.

Current project status

It has been determined that the original project corridor, as identified in the 1990’s planning

study, will be divided and developed as two separate corridor studies. The studies will be split near the Tama and Benton County line.

• The west section (Tama County) will start at the east side of Tama and tie into the new bypass alignment. The project will proceed east to just west of the Tama/Benton County line. For this section, we will be collecting environmental field information only.

• The east section (Benton County) will start just west of the Tama/Benton County line and will extend east to the west junction of U.S. 218 to tie into the existing four-lane highway.

For the Benton County project, we will be collecting environmental field information that was not collected with the mid 1990s study. The DOT will also be developing roadway alternatives for this section and will be preparing an environmental document. As part of the new study, they will be evaluating alternatives along both sides of the existing highway and will take into account all decisions/information included in the previous study regarding the location of the new lanes.

Over the months ahead, Iowa Department of Transportation and consultant staff will be present within the corridor to complete the environmental field reviews for both sections.

Project schedule

The Benton County portion of the corridor is currently included in the 2010-2014 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) with $6.1 million for right of way acquisition in 2014. The remainder of the U.S. 30 corridor, in Tama County, is not currently included in the 2010-2014 TIP; however, it may be considered during the preparation of future transportation programs.

The DOT urges with comments to contact:

Catherine Cutler, Transportation Planner

Iowa Department of Transportation

District 6 Office

430 16th Avenue SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-3150

800-866-4368 (toll free)

Email: Catherine.Cutler@dot.iowa.gov

The deadline to receive comments is May 3.

Cutler summarized the meeting by saying, “Most people were in favor of the four lanes expansion. Many people asked which side the lanes will be added.  That decision will be determined as we proceed with our environmental studies and preliminary engineering design. Dues to modern design standards, the existing lanes may or not be reused. Interchanges will also be considered for Iowa 21 and U.S. 218.

“We believe the work can be completed this spring summer with a another public meeting this fall to show alternatives for the roadway.  Purchase of right of way is currently scheduled beginning in 2014 in the Iowa DOT five year program.”

UPDATED April 28, 2010 12:08 PM

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