Traffic Study Results in Roadway Realignment for Better Community Access
Snyder & Associates undertook a traffic study and design project which included the review and analysis of impacts associated with realigning Iowa Highway 926 through downtown Fort Dodge. Strategies included the acquisition of blighted and abandoned downtown properties in an effort to “right-size” the core business district. Additionally, by creating a continuous corridor that connects the portion of Fort Dodge that lies on the west side of the Union Pacific rail yard with the east side, the downtown business district is able to better serve the entire community.
Quality of Life Enhancements Take Center Stage
The scope of the impact study included the development and understanding of the project’s purpose and need. To that end, numerous public meetings were held to gather input. Diligent documentation and evaluation of existing conditions was conducted, including traffic operations throughout the downtown and eastern retail areas. In addition, the project included concept developments that incorporated quality of life enhancements such as a civic plaza, bike lanes connected to the regional trail system, streetscape amenities, and specialty pavements.
Specific land use concepts included the development of a recreation center, the revitalization of an iconic, historic building (the Warden Plaza), and the development of an intermodal hub to complement an already established small shop retail area. The Warden Plaza will be a vertical, mixed-use facility for retail and office space on the lower levels and residential downtown loft development above to align harmoniously with the existing land use plan for the historic downtown area.
Creating a “Complete Streets” Environment
Numerous alternative routes were developed and different intersection treatments were evaluated as part of the traffic analysis. To improve operations of the local street network, two roundabout intersections were designed and built along the Cross-Town Connector and 13 traffic signals were removed. The overhead utility infrastructure was buried along the corridor to improve the aesthetic appeal and provide better pedestrian accommodation within narrow rights-of-way.
The chosen alternative addressed the “complete streets” concept. There was a need for on-street parking, accommodations for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as bus traffic and access control. Bike lanes were constructed along the realigned portion of the connector to better serve downtown area businesses.
Complex Financial Planning Assistance
This $9 million project required procuring nearly 70% of the project funds from multiple sources. These funding sources included the Iowa Department of Transportation (three different sources), the former I-Jobs program, the Downtown SSMID (two separate contributions for the roadway and gateway features), two philanthropic grants, and multiple revenue funds from the City of Fort Dodge. Working side by side with community leaders, Snyder & Associates strategized a financial plan to complete this project that has contributed to the overall revitalization of the downtown Fort Dodge business district.
2016 Concrete Paving Award
For the second year in a row, members of the Fort Dodge Cross-Town Connector project team were awarded the Best PCC Paving Award in the Urban Arterials and Collectors category (< 15,000 SY) by the Iowa Concrete Paving Association and the Iowa DOT. Both construction and design were taken into account in awarding the Cross-Town Connector project team comprised of Snyder & Associates, Wicks Construction, and the City of Fort Dodge.
Photo Credit: Iowa Concrete Paving Association
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