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Home / Johnson County seeks your opinion on 30 years worth of transportation plans
IOWA CITY — Residents have the opportunity to give their opinion on transportation projects scheduled almost 30 years into the future.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County is looking for feedback on its Future Forward 2050: Connecting Communities Long Range Transportation Plan.
The plan lists every potential transportation project in the metropolitan area that would receive federal funding.
“It’s a 25-year vision for all modes of transportation in the metropolitan area,” said Kent Ralston, the agency’s executive director. “Whether it’s vehicles, buses, bikes, pedestrians or freight — all of those different modes will be included in the long-range plans.”
All of the proposed projects can be viewed on an interactive map of the county. The projects are color coded by type — road, bridge, trail and Iowa Department of Transportation. They also are broken down by time frame — 2022-30, 2031-40 and 2041-50.
Users can click on a project, get a brief description, the estimated cost, anticipated construction period and the entity responsible for the project. From there, they can click a link and provide comments on the project.
Ralston said planners want to know who is interested in the projects, though they know most folks are interested in projects that impact their lives the most, such as their commute to work. Planners are hoping to get a wide range of feedback.
“Is it positive? Is it negative?” Ralston said. “Are we somehow missing the mark? ... All of the feedback that we receive will be shared with the communities that would have submitted those.”
Projects in the long-range plan include a proposal to widen Interstate 380 to six lanes from one mile north of the Forevergreen Road interchange to Coralville Lake; building a 3.5-mile trail along Highway 965 from Scales Bend Road to I-380; and redesigning the I-80/First Avenue interchange in Coralville to a diverging diamond.
MPOs are required to update their long-range transportation plan every five years, Ralston said. The last update to the plan was in May 2017 and the latest update needs to be completed by May 2022, he said.
“The nice things about this is it’s sort of a living document,” Ralston said. “In that way, we keep things up to date and we keep things current.”
In years past, maps of the proposed projects would be presented at a public venue and feedback would be solicited there. But with COVID-19 making that approach more difficult, the agency is trying the interactive map.
Ralston said any project that wishes to receive federal funding must be included in the long-range plan. Last month, the MPOJC awarded about $8 million in federal funding to a handful of local transportation projects.
“All of those projects would have been included in our last long-range plan,” he said. “Unless they’ve made it into the long-range plan, they can’t be awarded those funds.”
Feedback will be solicited on the online map through April 16, Ralston said. More information about the long-range plan can be found at the MPOJC website.