It may be a ways off, several months in fact, but the City of Adel is looking at widening a portion of Highway 169 in an area in the southern portion of town, between A-D-M High School and 302nd Place. A part of this cost would likely be passed on to the home and land owners in the impacted area, including home currently benefiting from the City’s tax abatement program.
Adel residents had a chance to hear more about the project and have their questions and concerns addressed at a public meeting on June 5 in the A-D-M High School Auditorium. The plans are in the preliminary stages and could see many changes before anything is made official, which could happen some time in January of next year.
Going into the public meeting, the Adel City Council had not discussed the project at all.
“The decision to fund this and the distribution of the cost doesn’t really have to be made until January at the earliest,” explained Adel Mayor Jim Peters. “So we’re way out in front of this, there’s not going to be any decision here this summer, or even the fall.
The project is slated to cost just over $5.1 million, with $1.5 million being contributed by the Iowa DOT, $416,819 from developers, $1 million from the City of Adel as a whole, and $2.2 million coming from a tax assessment against property owners in the area.
Using a “wide area method” for the tax assessment, the average residential cost to property owners for the project would by $3,298, or $39.89 per month for 10 years, with some commercial properties contributing as much as $70,477.
Jeff Schug from McClure Engineering talked over the plans they have for the project so far.
The portion of Highway 169, south of Highway 6 in Adel, saw a 25 percent increase in average annual daily traffic between 2004 and 2014. They had an AADT of 6,400 vehicles per day in 2004 and 8,000 vehicles per day in 2014.
“Not a ton of congestion compared to what could be there, but because it’s just a two-lane road, and there’s no turn lanes provided and speeds are fairly high, it is starting to create, what we consider from a traffic standpoint, a somewhat dangerous condition on that roadway,” Schug said.
The project includes a widening of Highway 169 in the discussed area, completing the pavement on Meadow Road, and improvements to the walking trails to provide easier access to the aquatic center in Adel. The trail improvements would also include an underpass under Highway 169.
Intersections would include five lanes, including a southbound right turn lane, a southbound straight lane, a center left turn lane for both directions, a northbound straight lane and a northbound straight lane and a northbound right turn lane. In other areas there will be a southbound straight lane, a center left turn lane for both directions and a northbound straight lane.
The presentation by McClure Engineering states that the benefits of the project include vehicle safety, a safe route to school, improved traffic flow, a future connection to the aquatic center from new homes 1-2 years in the future, and a complete paving of Meadow Road.
Many people at the meeting, like John Parker, stated that they believe that an easier fix to the heavy traffic flow and keeping people safe is to lower the speed limit in that area of Highway 169.
“Currently, the speed limits out there are way too fast, particularly coming from the north, over the knoll there where it changes from 45 to 55 (miles per hour),” Parker said.
Schug explained that the DOT controls the speed limit on Highway 169, but that the city is continuing to talk with them about changes in the future.
One Adel resident expressed that he likes the project, but feels that it should be paid for with a city-wide tax as everyone in the city uses the roads.
“You’re basically ostracizing your new people in Adel, making them feel a little unwelcome to be honest,” the resident said. “Mostly importantly, I think these things need to happen and I’m more than happy to pay my share to get them done. I just think that there’s a lot of people in Adel that are going to benefit from this.”
Mayor Peters explained that if they were to impose a city-wide tax assessment for the project, the City would need to utilize debt service, which those in tax abated areas do not pay into debt service.