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Lane Reduction Upgrade Highlights East End Repairs

The City of Fort Dodge has made tremendous strides over the past decade to upgrade several east/west arterials for improving crosstown traffic flow. One of these main roadways is the 5th Avenue South corridor running through the central portion of town. With a long-standing history of performing exemplary work for the city, Snyder & Associates has spearheaded several of these improvement projects aimed at creating a better roadway network for residents.

One of the earliest projects along this corridor was born from a safety study performed by our traffic experts. This study determined numerous repairs and improvements along 5th Avenue South would reduce crashes and promote safer traffic flow. The targeted area stretched approximately one mile from South 32nd Street to South 42nd Street. This mostly retail area has numerous business entrances and sees heavy truck traffic. A busy Menards store also has two entrances off 5th Avenue South that experienced increased traffic during peak periods.

New right turn lanes were constructed at select intersections.

Several physical improvements were identified, including minor patching and intake repairs along the corridor. The entire stretch of roadway also had the concrete surface milled in preparation for an HMA (hot-mix asphalt) overlay. A new right-turn lane was added for the main entrance to the Menards store, as well as the South 42nd Street intersection.

Our team also identified the need for a traffic signal at the east entrance to the Menards location. We assisted the city in applying for funding through the Iowa DOT’s Traffic Safety Improvement Program (TSIP). The awarded TSIP funds resulted in a substantially reduced expense to the city for the signal installation. The relocation of a local business entrance to the east of this intersection was also necessary to improve the safety of entering and exiting traffic.

The biggest safety improvement to this section of roadway, however, was the resurfacing and restriping of pavement markings on the roadway. This effectively converted 5th Avenue South from a four-lane, undivided configuration into a two-lane road with a center, two-way left-turn lane. This process is commonly referred to as a “road diet.” This style of lane alignment is designed to calm traffic, reduce crashes, and provide additional space between vehicles and pedestrians without performing any roadway widening.

Addition of Fiber Optic Improves Reliability & Functionality

Another beneficial upgrade our team identified along 5th Avenue South was the addition of fiber optic cable along the west end of the corridor. A traffic signal inventory performed by our team determined signal issues in the area were the result of poor communication capabilities between the signals. The resulting project installed nearly two miles of fiber optic cable stretching from Menards’ main entrance to South 8th Street in an ongoing effort to interconnect the signal system.

By installing fiber-optic communications, the city’s signal system and roadways benefit from added reliability and functionality. One advantage of the interconnected system is the development and optimization of peak-hour traffic timing plans. Real-time road conditions can be captured and transferred to a central management software for managing signal timings remotely. This project also upgraded numerous signal controllers to operate on the same platform and saw the addition of video detection equipment at strategic locations.

Similar to the corridor improvements on the east end of 5th Avenue South, our team identified and recommended the city apply for Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program (ICAAP) funds. These federal funds are awarded for projects with the highest potential for reducing transportation-related congestion and air pollution. The approval and acquisition of these funds greatly offset the expense to the city to complete this project.

As the City of Fort Dodge continues to focus on corridor improvements, the benefits for drivers will continue to grow in the form of reduced travel times, less pollution, and safer commutes. The Snyder & Associates team will likewise continue to assist the city in their efforts to create a better quality of life for residents.