Sioux Center has been preparing for the reconstruction of Highway 75 for many years, and now work is scheduled to begin sometime next year.
The 2.5-mile project will stretch nearly end-to-end along Sioux Center’s main street, replacing the deteriorating pavement and rebuilding the roadway in a safety-based design to better serve the community now and for decades to come.
The design features two lanes of traffic each direction, medians for safety and to calm traffic, pedestrian safe havens and crossings with rapid-flashing beacons, new sidewalks to improve walkability along the project, and aesthetic elements to reflect Sioux Center’s character. Aging utilities under the roadway will be replaced to continue the city’s reliable services for today and future growth. Sioux Center is partnering with the Iowa Department of Transportation to make this project possible.
The project may be bid in March 2023, according to Trent Bruce, of DGR Engineering, who spoke with the City Council this week. Construction could begin in fall 2023, and it would continue fully through 2024 and 2025.
The DOT has begun to contact property owners along the highway to work with them on right of way purchases and easements.
“The appraisal process is ongoing; they expect that to be wrapped up in the next month or two. Some property owners have been contacted,” Bruce said. “That is all being handled by the DOT.”
In light of rising construction costs, the DOT has increased its contribution to the project, Bruce said.
“Construction costs are up 15-20% across the board,” he said. “A piece of 16-inch PVC that was $59 a linear foot, the next week it’s $79 a linear foot. Those are the types of costs we are seeing extended across the industry.”
Bruce said the DOT recognizes that and has proposed increasing their contribution to $24.3 million, plus costs for right of way purchases, which could be more than $2 million. This increased contribution will also allow for the re-construction of the 16th Street South intersection for safety purposes with anticipated new development there.
For Sioux Center, the city’s projected increase includes increased construction costs, the planned $1.5 million in water improvements and about $1.5 million in wastewater improvements as discussed in 2020, and streetscape elements throughout the project.
Mayor David Krahling said that, although the city sees the price tag now, it seems prudent to undertake the utility improvements and 16th Street South update as part of the Highway 75 reconstruction.
“This is a project for a generation,” the mayor said.
The construction schedule is yet to be determined, but the city is working toward a plan that would maintain through traffic as much as possible, minimizing detours. For example, the project could be constructed north or south half first, with that split into east then west construction to allow through traffic.
The city is also preparing for significant communication with residents, businesses, and travelers throughout construction.