116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
New Tower Terrace interchange construction to begin in April
Portions of Tower Terrace Road will close near I-380 for the spring and summer this week
Beginning in April, a portion of Tower Terrace Road will close as crews build a new interchange connecting Interstate 380 to the major road.
In addition, portions of Tower Terrace also will be reconstructed this summer to widen the road for future growth and development.
Traffic on Tower Terrace Road from Edgewood Road to North Center Point Road will have to use an alternative route due to a full street reconstruction and the construction of the interchange. North Center Point Road will remain open until mid-April.
Tower Terrace closure
Starting Friday, April 1, traffic on Tower Terrace Road from Edgewood Road to North Center Point Road will be required to find alternative routes due to a full street reconstruction in connection to the improvements at the I-380 interchange.
Source: City of Hiawatha
The Tower Terrace Road project, which will span 8.3 miles once complete, aims to connect I-380 on the west to Highway 13 on the east. The Iowa Department of Transportation will build the interchange on I-380 at Tower Terrace. Once the overall project is complete, the corridor will run through Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Robins, a portion of unincorporated Linn County and Marion. The completion of Tower Terrace Road has been planned since the 1960s, according to subdivision plats.
Hiawatha City Engineer Jon Fitch said the goal is to reopen Hiawatha’s section of Tower Terrace by Aug. 19.
“We have these projects all wrapped into one DOT project. There is the Hiawatha side, the Cedar Rapids side and the interchange, but the DOT is doing all of the work and coordination,” Fitch said. “It was easier for them to take on that.”
The cost for completing the interchange, $22 million, is split among the DOT and the cities of Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. The cities are contributing around $2.5 million each. The DOT’s portion of the funding is paid for by a majority of federal funds and some state funds.
The project is expected to be complete in spring 2023. Both cities will be responsible for maintaining their sides of Tower Terrace after the current construction phase is done.
Cedar Rapids also will reconstruct Tower Terrace from Miller Road to the new I-380 interchange, Cedar Rapids Capital Improvement Program Manager Tim Mroch said last fall. He said that the project should be completed by 2023.
Work on the interchange had already started last fall, but construction of the ramps and bridge will be in full swing in April. The new interchange will be a diverging-diamond design. Traffic engineers say the design is safer than a traditional ramp because it reduces the times vehicles cross paths and nearly eliminates left-turn crashes. Last fall, crews began working on shoulder strengthening and grading.
Iowa DOT Engineer John Lamping said the purpose of adding the new interchange is in part to handle growing traffic demand, but also to provide a detour for when the I-380 and Boyson Road interchange is closed in a few years for its own reconstruction.
“A Tower Terrace interchange was part of the original plan for I-380, but was delayed due to lack of development in the area,” Lamping said.
Fitch said Hiawatha believes the completion of the interchange will spur immediate growth for the city of over 7,000.
“We are already seeing so much residential development off of Edgewood in the northwest corner of our city,” Fitch said. “The interchange will be a catalyst driver for economic growth… Even in the last year, we have had a lot of interest in local developers coming in to talk about the land for residential, commercial and light industrial.”
The projected remaining cost of the entire Tower Terrace project, not including the interchange, is over $50 million.
The Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization found out last November that it did not receive the RAISE grant funding in last year’s cycle and will be applying again before the April 14 deadline.
The RAISE grant program, formerly known as BUILD and TIGER, is a highly competitive U.S. Department of Transportation grant. Of 9,700 applicants, only 680 projects will receive funding, with the maximum amount being $25 million.
The Federal FY 2022 Appropriations Act added another $775 million in funding to the 2020 RAISE competition which allows for a maximum award of $45 million. However, the maximum only applies to the $775 million pool, separate from the typical $1.5 billion pool.
Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization Regional Transportation Planner Elizabeth Burke said the organization hasn’t decided if it will apply for more than $25 million, because they like the greater chance of receiving less money in the larger pool.
“We are leaning toward not applying for more because if an application seeks funding greater than $25 million, it will be competing only for the additional $775 million portion,” Burke said.
Right now, the project is estimated to be complete in 2045 with the current funding. If the grant is received, the project could be finished in about a decade instead, Burke previously told The Gazette.
Last April, Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson also listed the Tower Terrace project as one of her 10 Community Project Funding submissions, which allows federal funds to be directed toward a state, locality or nonprofit in a Congress member’s district through the appropriations process.
Hinson secured $5 million to help move along the Tower Terrace project in the FY2022 Appropriations bill. This community project funding will be available for use to complete 3.7 miles of Tower Terrace, such as widening existing lanes to include bike lanes, turn lanes, and raised medians at side street intersections.
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