Local entities pledge $5 million to Tower Terrace Road project

Leaders travel to state committee meeting to request funding for $20 million project

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In an effort to secure assistance from the state, several area leaders have presented a preliminary plan — and pledged financial assistance — for completion of the Tower Terrace Road interchange.

The hope is to see plans for the road’s interchange with Interstate 380 added to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s next five-year highway funding plan, which covers 2018-2022.

Officials from Linn County, Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha attended the Iowa Transportation Commission’s Tuesday meeting in Dubuque to request the $20 million project be added to the state plan for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Hiawatha city administrator Kim Downs said local groups also have pledged $5 million — $4 million from the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization and $1 million from local communities — toward the proposed diamond interchange.

“We have spent a great deal of time working with our metro communities,” Downs said. “We know we need skin in the game.”

John Bender, Hiawatha city engineer, said work has been underway in various communities to prepare Tower Terrace Road — between the interstate and Highway 13 — for the added traffic that would accompany an interchange with I-380.

In the end, Tower Terrace Road would be a five-lane multiuse highway with bike lanes, Bender said.

“The ultimate design is a complete street design that will go completely across the corridor,” Bender said. “No one is sitting on their hands in this metro area, we’re all working together to get this constructed and it all comes back to the interchange at Tower Terrace. We’re all planning on that interchange being built.”

The Tower Terrace Road bridge over I-380 was built in 1970 and was always planned for an I-380 interchange at some point.

The interchange would alleviate congestion woes at the nearby Boyson Road interchange, Bender said.

Peak-hour traffic on I-380 has resulted in backed up traffic at the Boyson Road interchange, with vehicles lining up back onto the interstate.

“The safety issue is they’re getting into the I-380 travel lanes. That is a serious safety issue that we’re concerned about,” Bender said.

The commission on Tuesday did not make any formal decision regarding the request to add Tower Terrace Road interchange to the five-year plan.

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