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City of Ames plans to widen South 16th Street

Jacob Rice
S 16th Street, April 25, 2024.

Traffic increases on South 16th Street in Ames have caused the city to look into widening the road. The project will take place right next to the Veterinary Medicine Buildings with construction slated to begin in April of 2025. 

Project details

The estimated cost for the South 16th construction is $3.2 million. The funding is coming from an Iowa Department of Transportation grant of $2.8 million and $1 million from the city of Ames. Shive-Hattery has been hired as the consultant for the city on the project. 

Hafiz Ibrahim serves as a civil engineer working to develop the construction plan for the project. As an Iowa State graduate in 2012, he is familiar with the area and thinks this project will improve the flow of traffic for those using the road. 

“It would help with peak hour traffic […] sometimes when you drive through, you can see traffic backed up all the way to Grand– which shouldn’t be happening,” Ibrahim said. “This can affect access to Veterinary Med.”

Proposed plan for construction

There are two proposed plans for the construction on South 16th Street. 

The first plan is to work on widening from University Avenue to Christensen Drive. The city’s goal would be to complete this portion of the construction before the first home football game of 2025. After this is complete, construction would move to the second part of South 16th from Christensen Drive to Apple Place.

The second plan would be to work on the two southbound lanes in the first year of construction and then complete the two northbound lanes in the following year. 

The city has not yet chosen what option to move forward with. The city intends to meet with veterinary medicine and hospital, and Iowa State Athletics to decide on the preferred method of construction because of how much of an impact the project will have on the traffic around these areas. 

Public impact

The impact of the construction would be more than just opening up a congested traffic corridor in Ames. There is a plan to add a 10-foot-wide biking and walking trail on both sides of the newly widened South 16th Street. 

Ibrahim shared the benefits this will have for Iowa State and wider Ames communities. 

“The bike trail will be open on both sides, so people that want to bike around will have connectivity from the Vet Med trail into S 16th and to the University. It will definitely improve some of the bike routes in town,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim had one piece of advice for commuters once the construction project begins. 

“We typically would like for the public to use alternate routes,” Ibrahim said. “Leave the construction [zone] to minimize the expected traffic.”

Currently, the corridor of South 16th Street near the veterinary college is an Iowa State road. In planning for the upcoming construction, the right of the road would be transferred to the city while the work was being done.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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    Andrew | Apr 28, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    Please have protected bike lanes/path