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Waukee’s project to widen Alice’s Road is now complete. The once two-lane, 1.25-mile stretch of Alice’s Road between SE University Avenue and NE Horizon Drive in Waukee is now a six-lane road.
The first phase of improvements to the existing Alice’s Road, starting at SE University Avenue and extending north to SE Olson Drive, began in spring 2017. The second phase, from SE Olson Drive to NE Horizon Drive, broke ground in spring 2018. In total, both projects encompass approximately 1.25 miles of improved road surfacing, additional traffic and turn lanes, stormwater and sanitary sewer extensions, traffic signal additions and enhancements – even an underpass for users of the Heart of the Warrior Trail. The total cost of the project was approximately $19.7 million.
Waukee Mayor Bill Peard marked the end of the Alice’s Road project with a ribbon cutting held outside of Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company on Aug. 1, 2019.
“Alice’s Road, including its extension south as Grand Prairie Parkway and its subsequent connection with Interstate 80, is now a major and unique corridor which has already altered the face of Waukee for the better,” Peard said. “Kettlestone’s 1,200 acres of developable ground is bearing fruit as new businesses open their doors or are in the planning stages – and the commercial growth adjacent to Alice’s Road continues to expand.”
Mayor Peard recognized Foth Engineering (lead design firm), Concrete Technologies (Phase 4 primary contractor), Absolute Concrete (Phase 5 primary contractor) and their subcontractors for the work they put in to improve the roadway. He also thanked Alice’s Road business owners and motorists for their patience throughout the three years of construction.
Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company selected its 30-acre site at 1100 SE Alice’s Road in the late 1990s because it had rail access and quality roads nearby. Company President Sumner Worth said while the community has certainly changed, their fondness of the location has not.
“When we moved here, Alice’s Road was just a small, two-lane road surrounded by residential zoning. But we knew that the City had the vision and plans to execute their comprehensive plan, which included expanding Alice’s Road,” Worth said. “Good transportation is the linchpin to successful, growing communities, and that’s exactly what Alice’s Road has done for our community.”
As drivers travel further north on Alice’s Road, they will see that there were key improvements made to the intersection at Hickman Road as well. Three thru lanes with a single right-turn lane and dual left-turn lanes on all four legs of the intersection were added. The dual left-turn lanes significantly improve operation and reduce congestion. And, reducing congestion is key when you consider that each day, 12,000 vehicles travel on Alice’s Road and 27,000 travel on Hickman Road.
“These traffic counts have a positive impact on economic development,” said Waukee Community & Economic Development Director Dan Dutcher. “Now with Alice’s Road expanded and additional lanes added where it intersects with Hickman Road, the ease of access will boost the appeal of the corridor for retailers and other service providers, thus creating more options for Waukee residents.”
While road construction projects are typically similar to each other, widening Alice’s Road was an interesting journey. The City coordinated the relocation of a 161,000-volt transmission and 13,000-volt distribution aerial lines with MidAmerican Energy to accommodate the roadway project. The contractor also processed 35,000 square yards of existing concrete for reuse as an aggregate sub-base beneath the new concrete pavement. As drivers get back into the swing of the new school year, City officials hope their commuting and carpool journeys will be made easier by this significant investment in public infrastructure.