Department of Transportation awards $25 million to Polk County for Broadway Avenue Improvements project

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The Iowa Department of Transportation plans a record-busting $806 million in statewide road and bridge projects this construction season. (Photo: William Petroski/The Register)

Polk County’s plan to reconstruct a portion of Broadway Avenue just got a $25 million boost from the federal government. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced the grant, earmarked for the Broadway Avenue Multi-modal Improvements project, as part of a $1 billion investment from the Trump administration to improve infrastructure through its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program.

The BUILD grant will cover over half of the projected $40 million cost of the Broadway project.

“A federal grant like that … relieves the burden on the local governments to help pay for that,” said MPO executive director Todd Ashby. “It certainly helps speed the timeline of completing the project.”

According to local officials, the project, which focuses on a 5.2-mile stretch of Broadway and will widen it from two lanes to three, will take place in three phases.

The first phase, which should start next year, will include the addition of an underpass below the Union Pacific Railroad line. Polk County supervisor Tom Hockensmith says this portion is vital to improving safety, as this railroad crossing has been the site of several fatal accidents — most recently, the death of East High School student Dominic Reidburn.

“We will eliminate that crossing, and the roadway will go under the railroad tracks, which is part of the reason the project is so expensive,” Hockensmith said.

Other notable safety improvements include raising the minimal clearance of the Interstate 235 overpass along Broadway, which Hockensmith says has been damaged twice in the past two years by oncoming trucks. 

“There’s 8,000 vehicles a day that travel through there, so when that is closed for repair … I get multiple calls from people saying to get in and out of there was very difficult,” Hockensmith said.

Hockensmith says the county has been putting money aside in years past, but is confident they will be able to access other funds to complete the project.

“We are extremely pleased and want to thank the congressional delegation for supporting us,” said Hockensmith.

Melody Mercado covers the eastern Des Moines metro for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or Twitter @melodymercadotv

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