Ames citizens voice concern for I-35, Highway 30 interchange project

Katy Klopfenstein

Concerned citizens of Ames and the surrounding area gathered at Crossroad Baptist Church with members of the Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday to voice concern about the I-35 and Highway 30 interchange.

Iowa DOT employees were on hand to answer any questions and concerns citizens may have while maps were displayed to show what would happen to the interchange.

The project includes replacing the northbound I-35 loop ramp, which is a circler ramp, to westbound U.S. 30 with a directional flyover ramp, which is more of a direct interchange. The improvements are being addressed with the increased traffic, safety and the pavement conditions.

“The closure might be an issue in area for businesses but over all it should be manageable,” said Charlie Purcell, who attends church right off of U.S. 30.

U.S. 30 to Dayton Avenue ramp will be closed and detoured during the summer of 2017 or 2018 for two months, May 15 through August 15. They hope to not have a closure during the winter months because of frontage roads and the weather, said Mike Clayton, the district planner for the Iowa DOT.

“It will be closed for a two-month period in either of those years,” Clayton said.

In 10 years, from 2005 through 2015, there have been a total of 277 crashes, one crash being fatal. The effort of building directional ramps instead of the current loop ramps will help reduce I-35 merging-related crashes, according to the Iowa DOT.

The initial cost in 2016 is $100,000. This cost will occur right away with $11.6 million in 2017 to cover bridges and grading. $4.4 million in 2018 will be for the amount of paving, according to the Iowa DOT.

“I think it is all about progress, there is a purpose,” said Allan Frandson, who is a resident of Story City and works in real estate appraisal.

I-35 was originally built as a four-lane interstate, as was U.S. 30 in the mid-1960s. A Public Information Meeting took place during January 2012 to give alternatives and improvements to the project. Since then the project was overseen by the Iowa DOT and Federal Highway Admissions, according to the Iowa DOT.

“I find it interesting to see what they are doing now and what they will be doing,” Frandson said.

The improvements of a flyover land and a two-lane Dayton Avenue ramp will increase the safety of the I-35 and U.S. 30 interchange.