The summer road construction season is kicking into high gear. Dena Gray-Fisher with the Iowa Department of Transportation says one-billion dollars in existing funding and $358-million in federal stimulus money will keep road crews busy. "Iowa will certainly experience a record setting level of highway and road construction this season," Gray-Fisher said.
This year, the legislature approved Governor Culver’s I-JOBS plans, which will provide an additional 115-million dollars for road and bridge construction throughout the state. The I-JOBS money will be spread out over the next three years after this season. Gray-Fisher says all of those dollars still won’t be enough to cover a shortfall in the D.O.T.’s long term plan.
"We really feel this is a good short term measure in meeting the gap that exists right now in this state," Gray-Fisher said. "But, we have a long term need over the next 20 years. We’ll need to continue to look and work with the legislature in finding a long term solution." Governor Culver has rejected calls for a hike in Iowa’s gas tax to boost funding for road and bridge repairs, but made it clear he might be open to that discussion in the future.
Gray-Fisher says motorists are bound to hit construction zones this summer in just about every corner of the state. She says some of the bigger projects include a major reconstruction of the Interstate 35/80 corridor near Des Moines, continued work in Council Bluffs and on Interstate 80 through Iowa City. Motorists can track all of the state D.O.T. projects on-line at 511 website .
Gray-Fisher says the website that’s also used for winter road conditions will include information for motorists to plan their trips around the summer road construction.