Economic study

Economic study proposed to advance Highway 30 to four lanes | News

by Dan Mundt

Coalition Director Visits Supervisors

Adam Schweers, chairman of the Highway 30 Coalition and former mayor of Carroll, visited the Crawford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Schweers provided an update on the group’s goal to expand Interstate 30 to four lanes throughout Iowa.

He said the coalition has been around for about 30 years and was founded and led by people mostly from the east end of the state.

The Highway 30 Coalition recently worked to be considered representative of all 331 miles of Highway 30 in all 12 counties of the state, he said.

Schweers said former Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) director Paul Trombino said he didn’t want to see any more four-lane roads developed in rural Iowa and that was self-imposed. to DOT personnel.

“We have fought an uphill battle over the past 10 years since he left,” Schweers said.

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The coalition has three main priorities right now.

“There is a 40-mile section from Lisbon, Iowa, to DeWitt, Iowa, that we would like to see completed in four lanes, and if it were to be concurred, you would be able to go from Ogden to the Mississippi River on a four-lane road,” he said.

The 40-mile stretch of road between Carroll and Ogden, and a bypass at Missouri Valley, are the other two priorities.

A study by a company hired by the DOT recommended that the Lisbon-DeWitt section of Highway 30 be completed as a “super two” highway, similar to the current section of Highway 30 between Denison and Carroll .

Schweers said the “super two” from Carroll to Denison does not meet the needs because most traffic remains stuck behind slower vehicles after passing lanes end.

He said Iowa Economic Development Director Debbie Durham, who is a former DOT commissioner and supported the Highway 20 four-lane project, said the Highway 30 coalition is smart. to dig into their heels on the Lisbon to DeWitt section.

She said, “If you don’t end Lisbon at DeWitt (like a four-lane highway), you’re never going to work on the west side of the state, and we’ll have essentially lost the battle,” according to Schweers.

He said the coalition wanted to hire engineering firm Snyder & Associates to conduct an economic study of Highway 30 that would examine a wide range of information, such as traffic patterns to businesses, travel patterns of labor and accidents.

The study will take six to eight months and will be ready when DOT discusses a five-year plan next January.

The Highway 30 Coalition is asking government entities along the highway to provide $5,000 for the study, which will cost $97,000.

The coalition has approximately $23,000 on hand, from membership dues, to spend on the study.

Since Crawford County is not among the group’s current three priority projects, he said he would accept any amount the county offers.

Schweers said the Interstate 30 corridor in Iowa is second in population only to the Interstate 80 corridor; more than 560,000 people live along the highway, representing a large portion of the state’s population of 3.2 million.

ADM has invested billions in Cedar Rapids and terminals on the Mississippi River in Clinton – but the company must route vehicles to Interstate 80 (which contributes to congestion on the freeway) and then back to the Highway 380 because Highway 30 is unpredictable and dangerous. , he said.

The Clinton County Board of Supervisors has made four-lane Interstate 30 in its county a priority, Schweers said; the county approved $10,000 for the study proposed by the coalition and hired a lobbyist to work on the issue on Capitol Hill.

Cedar County mayors will sign an official proclamation declaring that they do not want a “super two” in their county.

“Four lanes is the only thing they want to see,” he said.

Schweers said rural Iowa is at a disadvantage because industrial parks cannot be certified without a four-lane highway within five or six miles of the site.

Some companies may decide to move out of rural communities due to the added challenges of two-lane highways.

A four-lane Highway 30 would not necessarily mean that all communities would have the highway widened to four lanes in the city.

The highway could be reduced to two lanes through cities – or it could bypass the city center.

Communities and farmers don’t like bypasses, but engineers prefer them, Schweers said.

Schweers said his job is to promote a four-lane Highway 30, not to decide specifically where it would go in those cases.

He noted that Iowa Workforce Development said people would drive 25 miles farther to work on a four-lane road versus a two-lane road due to predictability and safety factors.

The Bulletin and Review polled supervisors at the end of Tuesday’s meeting; everyone said they were in favor of funding the study on Autoroute 30.

Schweers made a similar presentation to Denison City Council on Tuesday evening.