116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa DOT begins clearing path for $225 million Highway 30 project
TAMA — Motorists traveling along Highway 30 between Cedar Rapids and Tama may have noticed trees coming down.
Crews with the Iowa Department of Transportation have begun grubbing and clearing along the state-owned two-lane highway to prepare the area for the completion of a four-lane corridor from Tama to the Highway 30 interchange with Highway 218 in Benton County.
The roughly $225 million project, which includes the construction of interchanges at the Highway 30 connections with Highway 21 and Highway 218, is expected to take close to seven years to complete, said Andy Loonan, field services coordinator with Iowa Department of Transportation's District 1.
'By the end of 2023, we're planned and programmed to have that completed from Cedar Rapids all the way over to Ames and even a little bit west of there,' Loonan said. 'It's a combination of old roadways needing to be resurfaced and rehabilitated . . and handling the traffic volumes there.'
That stretch of Highway 30 has about 5,700 daily vehicles on the west side near Tama and about 7,000 daily vehicles near its intersection with Highway 218, according to DOT data.
The new four-lane highway will be built next to the existing road, so Highway 30 will not close to traffic during construction, Loonan said.
Tama County Engineer Lyle Brehm said the project might realign the intersections of a few county roads along Highway 30, but the overall impact on the county road system will be minimal.
Loonan said tree removal is all taking place now, as to not disturb an endangered and protected species of bat, which does not inhabit the trees at this time of the year. Grading could begin yet this year or early next spring, weather permitting, he added.
The project will grade out some of the peaks and valleys on the highway — specifically in the hilly portions of Tama County — to make for safer travels.
'From a safety standpoint, there's been a lot of accidents and quite a few deaths on that road through the hills east of Tama. We're looking forward to that being a safer route,' Tama Mayor Mike Carnahan said.
Carnahan added the upgrade to Highway 30 has the potential to make the east side of Tama more attractive to businesses and possibly help support economic development in the area.
'I'm looking forward to the prospect of helping Tama grow more,' he said.
To the west, in Benton County, work is slated to begin next year on the Highway 30/Highway 218 interchange, which is expected to be finished in 2019.
Cathy Cutler, transportation planner with the Iowa DOT's District 6 office in Cedar Rapids, said it's likely the upgrade of Highway 30 from a two-lane road to four-lane interstate marks one of the last new major corridor projects in the state.
'The (Iowa Transportation Commission) has really moved more into preservation and stewardship mode,' Cutler said. 'So we're kind of going to be maintaining what we have built, or what we are building now. There's going to be less and less of these kinds of corridors being built.'
The approximately 27-mile project will be completed in phases:
— Construction will begin in 2018 on the 11.2-mile stretch of Highway 30 between Tama and Highway 21, with the new road open to traffic in 2020.
— Construction will begin in 2018 on the Highway 30/Highway 218 interchange, along with about two miles of Highway 30, with the new interchange open to traffic in 2019.
— Construction will begin in 2020 on the Highway 30/Highway 218 interchange, along with about two miles of Highway 30, with the new interchange open to traffic in 2021.
— Construction will begin in 2021 on the 11.45-mile stretch of Highway 30 between Highway 21 and Highway 218, with the new road open to traffic in 2024.
l Comments: (319) 339-3175; email@example.com