MINGO, Iowa – A proposed highway redesign project which could have serious implications for organic farmer Larry Cleverley has been added to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Draft 2015-2019 Iowa Highway Program.
Cleverley Farms is a fixture at the farmers’ market in downtown Des Moines, and supplies organic produce to restaurants in the area; Cleverley says the farmland has been in his family for 85 years, but it sits on one of the state’s deadliest stretches of road. Currently the nearby intersection of U.S. Route 65, Iowa Highway 330 and Iowa Highway 117 is tenth on the Iowa DOT’s list of the top 200 locations in Iowa most in need of overhauls due to safety concerns. Another neabry intersection, where Iowa Highway 330 and Jasper County Road F-17 meet, has also been considered for safety improvements. Both projects could require substantial amounts of Cleverley’s farmland to accommodate redesigned intersections.
The Draft 2015-2019 Iowa Highway Program includes $6 million for a new bridge at the U.S. 65/IA 330/IA 117 intersection in 2017, and $7 million for grading and paving costs in 2018.
However, the 5-year plan has not yet been approved. The Iowa Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider its approval at a meeting in Perry on June 10. Comments can be submitted to Don Tebben with the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Program Management, by telephone at 515-239-1148 or by email at email@example.com.
When asked in July of 2013 what needed to happen before the project and construction could begin, Iowa DOT District 1 engineer Scott Dockstader stated the following:
“We would have to get to the stage where our commissioners were comfortable with the project that we would recommend to them, and that they would have to put into our 5-year program for construction.”
On June 10, 2013, Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network reporter Brandon Blue filed a request with the Iowa Department of Transportation under Iowa’s Open Records law; you can read and download the information provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation by clicking here.