Two alternatives have been carried forward on the Highway 30 bypass around Missouri Valley, according to Dan Zeiman, Location and Environment Service for the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Zeiman was in Missouri Valley on Thursday, Aug. 15, to update the public on the bypass progress.
Early routes for the bypass included two study areas, one north of Missouri Valley, which traversed from Modale to Logan, approximately 10 miles of bypass. That option was eliminated early in the process for several reasons.
“It was about twice as long, so it was the most expensive. In regards of the environmental impact, it had the highest impact to environmental resources – particularly the Loess Hills,” Zeiman said. “Then, our traffic forecast, if we were to construct this bypass (northern route), we would still have about 80 percent of the traffic using Highway 30 and still going through Missouri Valley, which defeated the purpose of building that bypass.”
After eliminating the potential northern route, the focus turned to the southern options and those were whittled down to just two remaining potential routes – originally called Alternative 2 and Alternative 6.
While both options would be built wide enough to accommodate four lanes, the bypass would be constructed as a two-lane highway that is more than 30 feet above the current level of the roadway.
At the western edge of Missouri Valley, both options would tie into the Interstate 29/Highway 30 interchange at South Willow Street, traveling eastbound on the south side of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, but north of Canal Street.
Mayor Shawn Kelly was at the meeting, and when Zeiman questioned the need for a traffic signal at the intersection of Willow Street and Highway 30 near McDonalds, Kelly adamantly approved.
“Yes. Don’t build it unless you are going to put a light there. I will tell you that is how bad there needs to be a light there,” Kelly said.
Both current options include a dual purpose – providing for the needs of transportation and additional flood protection with a levee incorporated into the roadway.
“There is a separate, ongoing study that the Army Corps of Engineers is conducting,” Zeiman said. “What they are evaluating is what we are calling the Willow Creek Levee. Essentially, they are looking at a levee that starts at Snyder Street, following along Willow Creek and terminating somewhere by the lagoons.”
Zeiman said that the studies will need to work in tandem to truly provide flood protection for the community, though the Willow Park area would remain unprotected by this levee.
“They cannot work without each other,” he said. “The Corps has indicated that the schedule for that study is supposed to be pretty close to the schedule for this (bypass) study.”
The study is planned for completion in late summer/early fall of 2020 at which time a preferred alternative will be determined, Zeiman stated.
The recently approved five-year program has funding assigned for right-of-way (ROW) negotiations beginning in fiscal year 2024 (July 2023 through June 2024). Construction of the project could begin a couple years after the ROW process has initiated, he added.
Though, he stated, funding of the remaining project has not been determined at this time, so this schedule may need to be adjusted due to available resources.
For more information, to ask questions or comment on the project and the options, visit the online public forum at www.iowadot.gov/pim and select the Missouri Valley Bypass Corridor Online Meeting.
This is the longer option, totaling 5.25 miles and estimated to cost $85 million. According to information provided on the online bypass public meeting hosted by the Iowa Department of Transportation, it begins at the I-29/US 30 interchange (Exit 75) and heads east and stays on the south side of Canal Street and turns northeast and runs parallel on the south side of the railroad tracks. The alignment curves back north over the railroad tracks and ties into US 30 near Monroe Avenue.
This option is 3.75 miles long and is estimated at $75 million. It begins at the I-29/US 30 interchange (Exit 75) and heads east and stays on the south side of Canal Street. It then turns north and back east to tie into existing US 30 near Melrose, according to the information provided on the online public meeting. This option would not necessitate the closure of Canal Street.