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Department of Transportation opts for shift in the U.S. 30 Expressway route east of Tama

November 30, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

There's no funding. It's not in the current Iowa Highway Commissioners' Five-Year Plan. Yet Scott Dockstader, District I Iowa Department of Transportation engineer, has laid out a project for extending the U.S. Highway 30 Expressway eastward from Tama to near the Benton County line.

"We hope this becomes a priority for the commission," he said.

More than 100 attended a DOT public hearing at the Reinig-Toledo Civic Center Thursday night, Nov. 21 at which Dockstader and Tony Guftafson, assistant District Engineer, told of the plan which is favored. They learned the DOT is looking toward a construction plan for the 12-mile long stretch which routes the highway north of the present route continuing the four-lane expressway which currently ends just east of Tama.

Article Photos

Assistant DOT?District I Engineer Tony Guftafson (left) explains the preferred DOT?plan for a new U.S. 30 Expressway east of Tama to Joe Thiessen. The proposed route appears to affect Thiessen’s parents farm ground located about five miles east of Tama.
News-Herald/John Speer

Dockstader said three alternatives for U.S. 30 had been considered: Adding two lanes to the current route; just south of the current route; or the plan going north of the present highway.

He said the route chosen provided for safety for construction and DOT crews and the public because it would be built off of the current route and would not be subject to traffic. By building a new highway rather and using the present route, construction time is four years instead of seven because crews have full access. This shorter time is a money-saver, Dockstader said. He said in addition to lower cost, better construction techniques can be used resulting in "a road which lasts longer."

He said rebuilding the current route would cost more.

One change in proposal is the elimination of the present Highway 30 - Tama County Road E66 intersection about five miles east of Tama. Traffic for the roadway and bound for example for Chelsea, would proceed on the new expressway route to R Avenue, about one mile east and turn south to join E66. Traffic westbound on E66 would reach a dead end and a hammerhead-type turnaround before reaching the former U.S. 30 intersection.

During a question and answer session Allan Richards, Tama, a Lincoln Highway Association member, called for provision of the current highway route from Tama to E66 in some form. He maintained this is part of the original 100-year old location of the Lincoln Highway.

Lorna Perkins, rural Tama, and Lance Horbach, Tama, both called action on the present location at which the Expressway narrows to two lanes east of Tama.

Perkins, who lives adjacent to the location, said weather conditions like fog and ice have caused a number of traffic accidents there.

Others speaking called for use of the current route and voiced questions about specific access and a pond issue.

Dockstader said the U.S. 30 route from 218 in Benton County west to the Tama County line has been approved for funding and following preliminary work will be paved for a four-lane Expressway in 2017.

Public comment on the plan is invited by the DOT until Dec. 9.

It may be made by submitting comments to:

Public Involvement Section

Office of Location and Environment

Iowa Department of Transportation

800 Lincoln Way

Ames IA 50010-9902



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