In recent weeks, Benton Development Group along with community and county leaders have attended several meetings with regards to the widening of U.S. 30.
In August, BDG and other leaders attended the Highway Commissioner’s meeting in Cedar Rapids. As a result of this meeting, it was expressed that a formal request needed to be written to have this project be put in the planning budget. BDG felt this was a great opportunity to partner with Tama County Economic Development Commission to write a request for the widening of U.S. 30 through Benton and Tama Counties.
This request was hand delivered Iowa DOT Director, Paul Trombino, and Governor Branstad. In both meetings it was clear that the issue is recognized. A major factor as to why this project is currently not in the program is funding. Because there is currently no “new” money coming into the system, they are faced with the issue of maintaining the current system or adding to they system (i.e. U.S. 30 widening project).
As we are aware, the Iowa DOT initially proposed a J-turn at the 218/30 intersection. They have since designed an alternate option for this intersection, a partial clover leaf. During the public hearing last Wednesday, Iowa DOT District 6 Engineer, Jim Schnoebelen presented both options to the almost 100 people that attended. He shared the pros and cons of each option, both focusing around cost and safety. The J-turn will cost quite a bit less and will also require less land to be acquired; however, the partial clover leaf is a safer option and provides higher flexibility to accommodate things in the future that might not be planned.
Schoebelen also expressed that “the DOT is comfortable with either one of theses alternatives.” He also stated, “We are really looking to have this be a local decision.” “We are looking for your input.” He opened the comments up to the public and would like all additional comments regarding the interchange to be submitted to the Iowa DOT District 6 office, in Cedar Rapids, by December 21st.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.