The Northeast Industrial Access Planning Study aims to provide recommendations to address identified existing and future transportation issues related to the Northeast Industrial Area. This study will examine primary, secondary and local routes currently utilized to access this area and connect the area to highways US 63, US 218, US 20, and I-380.
The goal of the study is to identify an alternative route that will function as a freight corridor. The project is a collaboration between the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, City of Evansdale, City of Elk Run Heights, City of Raymond, City of Waterloo, Black Hawk County and the Iowa DOT.
Due to forecasted growth in the Northeast Industrial Area, growing problems with freight traffic, deteriorating roads and recent congestion, the advisory committee feels that now is the time to proceed with the study to find a cost-effective solution.
Industries in the Northeast Industrial Area such as John Deere Tractor Cab Assembly Operations, Ferguson Distribution, Kinder Morgan, Warren Transport, Gray Transportation, Ryder Integrated Logistics and Tyson Fresh Meats are important employers and contributors to our local economy. More than 4,000 people are employed in our Northeast Industrial Area.
Companies in the Northeast Industrial Area create high volumes of freight transport. Roadways to access this area are experiencing high volumes of freight traffic, and likewise, cause traffic flow and maintenance issues for existing roadway facilities.
With responsible decisions to enable more efficient freight movement, there is potential for business and employment growth in this important industrial area.
Current routes do not provide sufficient access to the Northeast Industrial Area, which may impact freight-dependent businesses from meeting their full potential for efficiency. Communities in Black Hawk County are witnessing freight traffic on local roads that were not designed to accommodate semi-truck traffic.
Public and stakeholder involvement will help drive this study to expose these and other key issues, and to determine priorities.
Areas of focus for the study include identifying opportunities to enhance freight transport through multi-modal (combined modes of transportation, mainly truck and train) connection facilities and ways to improve access to the area from major area highways, which would alleviate traffic congestion and overuse of county roads by freight-hauling semi trucks.
The Advisory Committee looks forward to addressing traffic safety concerns along the corridor through the study, as well as providing the infrastructure necessary for planned and future economic growth while accommodating the needs of existing businesses.
Early design considerations include surrounding land use, zoning, current plans for transportation improvements, maximized rail use, traffic forecasting, safety standards, and transit routes and ridership information.
The Advisory Committee expects to see alternatives ranging from no construction to a potential beltway around the city of Waterloo to new freight transport facilities in the industrial area.
The Northeast Industrial Access was listed as an illustrative project for the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Various scenarios were modeled to examine the impacts on vehicle miles and hours traveled. After the modeling was completed, the project was classified as “illustrative,” meaning a formal study would be required to determine best solutions and funding required for the preferred solution.
The Northeast Industrial Access Study is a formal study to determine the best way to move traffic, especially trucks heading to and from the Northeast Industrial Area. The study will be more than a “bypass” study. Solutions may range from no construction to improving the existing transportation infrastructure to building a new road.
Additionally, there may be some confusion regarding a traffic study proposed in the area in April of 2012. However, this was a traffic engineering study for Evansdale and Elk Run Heights and was not associated with the Northeast Industrial Area planning study.