116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Tower Terrace Road project, shared by five local jurisdictions, has been in the works for over a decade. The design process was initiated with the Corridor Management Plan created by the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The entire project, which will not be completed until around 2045, is estimated to cost over $90 million.
The plan is to construct new parts to connect current sections of the road to span from Interstate 380 to Highway 13 and build a new interchange on I-380 at Tower Terrace.
A $15 million I-380 interchange for Tower Terrace is in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s budget, with a goal of being finished in 2025.
The goal is to take some pressure off other long-spanning streets like Boyson Road, which also carry high levels of traffic through Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion.
The cities of Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha and Robins as well as Linn County and the Iowa Department of Transportation are all involved in the ambitious infrastructure upgrade. All jurisdictions are contributing to the funding of the decadeslong project while also looking to secure various grants.
However, the project largely is a series of segments and gaps and is being completed in smaller pieces.
What’s happened since?
In April, Iowa U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson listed the Tower Terrace project as one of her 10 Community Project Funding submissions.
Community Project Funding allows federal funds to be directed toward a state, locality or nonprofit in a Congress member’s district through the appropriations process.
Hinson officially requested $1 million for the project on April 26.
“The robust economy of this community is impressive and has outgrown the current infrastructure that links these major roadways,” Hinson wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee.
At the local level, Marion has built the Tower Terrace and Alburnett Road roundabout and is now working on property acquisition to the west, between C Avenue and Alburnett Road, with Cedar Rapids, which is paying for the majority, Marion City Engineer Mike Barkalow said.
“The property acquisition with Cedar Rapids is 2021 for sure,” he said.
“Overall, we’ve made pretty good progress in Marion. Half of our section is or has been built. It’s just the matter of getting the other half and then we will see that greater impact.”
In Hiawatha, some utility relocation is currently happening, City Engineer Jon Fitch said.
Fitch also said in terms of the new interchange being built, some of the excavation and demolition of the existing roadway and bridge will begin. City Manager Kim Downs said the project will go out to bid in August.
“It’s going to take some time to move all that dirt,” Downs said.
Additionally, Downs said Hiawatha will have its first roundabout in the next few years as part of the project at North Center Point Road and Tower Terrace.
Fitch said the roundabout will be finished in fall 2023 and preparations have been made for future detours.
“The other roads are ready and prepared to take on additional traffic,” he said.
Downs added that she thinks it’s important how the various metro communities work together during the project.
“It’s a big goal,” she said of the project. “For this to happen, it has to be all the communities working together. That’s the big-picture, holistic approach to this.”
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