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Growing Community Benefits from City Engineering Partnership

Home of the National Balloon Classic and Simpson College, the central Iowa community of Indianola has experienced steady population growth since 2010. Like a lot of communities of similar size, managing their ever-changing engineering needs with limited resources is a constant balancing act. In 2016, the City of Indianola partnered with Snyder & Associates to serve as their city engineer charged with helping to maintain and grow the city’s infrastructure and provide first-rate services to the communities 15,000+ residents.

As a multi-disciplined engineering firm, Snyder & Associates offers a full range of municipal engineering services to help towns, cities, and counties manage their public works and development needs. Our firm’s approach to municipal engineering involves assigning each client with a single point of contact, backed by a support staff of over 200 professionals working behind the scenes. This allows the city engineer to confidently handle all day-to-day issues, with the ability to quickly consult experts in various fields when necessary. This standard provides a level of professionalism that has allowed Indianola to tackle large-scale projects, while at the same time providing the flexibility to manage the town’s everyday needs.

Among the services that Snyder & Associates provides for the City of Indianola are community and infrastructure planning, site development and survey, subdivision and platting review, traffic signal studies, and pavement management planning just to name a few. But perhaps most important, Snyder & Associates brings extensive resources to the table that help the city locate and secure the funding they need to make their project concepts a reality.

Long-Range Comprehensive Plan Guides Community & Economic Development

A prime example of our services for the city is the “Elevate Indianola” Comprehensive Plan that was formally adopted in May of 2020 and created a 20-year vision for the entire community. A comprehensive plan sets out broad policy directions for growth, development, and redevelopment and represents the community’s vision for the future. Guided by our planning team, residents, business leaders, and city staff worked together to identify the issues and challenges facing the community, along with the assets and opportunities that can be better utilized moving forward.

The Snyder & Associates planning team gained support for the plan by engaging and educating the public throughout the entire process. Public meetings with residents and businesses created a sense of ownership within the community. An implementation schedule identified the type of action, timeframe, resources, and the partnering organizations for each action. Indianola officials have expressed their commitment to implementing the goals of the plan with each decision they make.

The plan aims to make a difference in the lives of residents by preserving the small-town atmosphere and high quality of life that originally attracted new residents to the community. By addressing educational needs, local business, and public amenities, the City of Indianola will build upon its existing strengths and minimize its weaknesses to help guide the community into the future.

Streets Master Plan Provides Pavement Management Guidance & Protocols

signaled intersection partially closed while construction is completed

Reconstruction efforts along Iowa Avenue as identified by the Streets Master Plan.

A growing challenge for many communities is finding the best way to manage and plan for roadway maintenance. Facing budget constraints, programs for road improvement funding are extremely limited. To help Indianola proactively address these common concerns, our team developed a “Streets Master Plan” that effectively established a practical and cost-effective plan for maintaining the communities roadways.

This pavement management system includes pavement condition inspection and pavement condition prediction methods to assist in the development of repair and maintenance strategies that optimize spending. The plan saves the community money by developing a financial strategy for pavement improvements that include rehabilitation, preservation, and reconstruction. Through the proficient use of these techniques, the community is better positioned to allocate resources where they’re needed, when they’re needed.

Traffic Signal Timing Study Emission Reductions Exceed Modeled Expectations

Not all of the projects that our engineering team undertakes for the city are as all-encompassing as a comprehensive plan or a streets plan. The recent traffic signal timing study along the bustling U.S. 65/69 and Iowa 92 corridors is an example of a project with a narrow focus that had a large-scale impact on vehicle emissions in the community. Outdated signal timings and coordination plans can cause excessive vehicle delays during normal and event traffic periods leading to increased emissions and pollutant outputs.

This targeted project included the comprehensive review, infrastructure updates, and improved coordination of traffic signal timings along the two identified corridors that run through the heart of Indianola. The ultimate goal was to increase the efficiency of the city’s transportation corridors by reducing travel times, eliminating traffic congestion, and minimizing idle times at intersections.

By all accounts, this project was a huge success. The performance evaluation completed after real-world improvements were enacted indicates the actual reduction in key pollutants along the corridor substantially exceeded the initial estimates. Also, because this project was focused on reducing emissions through better signal coordination, our team was instrumental in assisting the city to apply for, and receive, over $120,000 in Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program funding (ICAAP) administered through the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).

At Snyder & Associates, we provide our municipal clients with day-to-day services that are proactive, responsive, and cost-effective. We help communities like Indianola plan responsibly for sustainable growth and we work diligently to nurture strong relationships, appreciate multiple perspectives, and respect the culture of each community we serve. Most important, we know it takes experienced, skilled professionals to hold the trusted position of city engineer.