Bypass makes final cut
June 22, 2012 · Jake Krob
The bypass is coming.
In as few as four years, construction could be starting on a six-mile Hwy. 30 bypass south of Mount Vernon-Lisbon. In as few as eight years, it could be open to traffic.
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Commission last week approved the state's five-year funding transportation plan. Funding for a Hwy. 30 bypass of Mount Vernon-Lisbon was approved in a draft plan in May, and granted final approval this past week.
The DOT's five-year plan includes $50.2 million for starting the project over the next five years. The funding breaks down this way in the following fiscal years (fiscal years begin July 1, so fiscal year 2014 starts July 1, 2013):
• 2014 - $6.2 million for right-of-way land acquisition.
• 2015 - $6.2 million for right-of-way land acquisition.
• 2016 - $6.6 million for right-of-way land acquisition.
• 2017 - $30.05 million for grading work and $1.15 million of wetland mitigation.
Cathy Cutler, a DOT official working with the Mount Vernon-Lisbon communities on bypass planning, said the funding approved doesn't cover paving because that work would be happening beyond the five years covered by the commission's plan.
The inclusion of the bypass on the plan brings the most certainty the project has had in just over a decade. The bypass was last on the five-year funding plan in 2001, but was removed due to a lack of funding.
That's less likely to happen today.
Cutler said in 2001 "there were so many studies, but there was no way to fund it all."
Today, she said, the DOT commission takes a "fiscally constrained view." She said the commission works to project revenues - largely from state and federal fuel taxes - and "realistically ties projects to the revenues."
Although final plans are not complete for the bypass route, the general route - and interchanges - are pretty much set.
The bypass will be south of Mount Vernon-Lisbon. Mount Vernon's interchange will be at Hwy. 1, and there will be some access to and from the bypass on the west side of the city, around Irish Lane.
The Lisbon City Council prefers its one interchange to be at Adams Avenue, east of the city. It also hopes for some type of access to and from the bypass further east.
Cutler said the DOT is finishing environmental assessment work for the area where the bypass will be located. Surveyors will likely begin working this summer and fall.
The plan is to have a final public hearing on the environmental documents in October, then the project will be sent to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.
Cutler said the DOT will use a consultant for final design, which will include "to the foot" the where the bypass will be. That will likely begin after this fall.