City of Ames begins Grand Avenue extension studies

Mitchel Anderson

The city of Ames held an open house on Tuesday to inform the public about its progress in beginning a study to determine a location for the extension of Grand Avenue from Squaw Creek Drive to South 16th Street. 

The study is scheduled to be conducted during a 24-month period and will include two main phases. According to the city of Ames, the first phase of the study will look into roadway locations, traffic impacts and floodway impacts. The second phase of the study will evaluate the potential for environmental impacts. The city of Ames is working with engineering and technical service provider HR Green to conduct the study. 

“What we’re trying to look at is [how much] we need to raise the roadway to keep that in operation during a specific flood event, whether that’s a 100-year design flood event or, for example, a historic even like the 2010 flood that most people are aware of,” said Joe Vavrina, a project manager at HR Green. 

The location and environmental study will assist in granting the city knowledge of how to improve roadway connections between South Grand Avenue and South 16th Street, and also South Fifth Street from South Duff Avenue to South Grand Avenue. 

Increased traffic volumes will also need to be taken into consideration for the study. According to a traffic analysis done by the Iowa Department of Transportation, in 2011 South Duff Avenue saw 24,200 cars per day, and South 16th Street saw 10,100 cars per day. In 2040, South Duff Avenue is projected to see 28,300 cars per day and South 16th would see 13,800 cars per day if no improvements are made to Grand Avenue. The study did not indicate whether or not it took into account the rising enrollment at Iowa State. 

The city of Ames and HR Green worked to develop four alternatives for the extension, and after the first phases of the study are done, they will eventually be seeking public and agency input before further progress is made on the plan.