Courier Staff Writer
OTTUMWA — The street and highway surrounding the largest employer in Ottumwa will undergo a complete overhaul in the next year.
On Tuesday, the city was awarded a Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation for improvements to Iowa Avenue, which runs alongside Cargill Meat Solutions and several other businesses.
Up to nearly $1.2 million will be made available to the city to assist in the construction of a right-turn lane on U.S. Highway 34 and the reconstruction of approximately 2,500 feet of Iowa Avenue from the highway north to Kay Avenue, according to the IDOT.
The project is anticipated to be completed by August 2014.
Not only are the improvements necessary for improved access to Cargill Meat Solutions, but according to the IDOT, the construction will create 120 new jobs as well as nearly $96 million in associated capital investment.
The improvements will also provide improved access to more than 36 acres for future manufacturing and industrial development, according to the IDOT.
The project would include the full-width reconstruction of Iowa Avenue from East Main Street to U.S. Highway 34, which is estimated to cost more than $1.7 million.
Service vehicles, employee traffic and product transportation have all taken their toll on the road.
There are several business owners who would benefit from reconstruction as well, including Messerschmitt Ice, Winger Contracting Company, Millard Refrigerated Services and others.
The RISE program requires a 50 percent local match. The city council previously committed nearly $800,000 from CIP, with an additional local match pledged by Wapello County for improvements to Iowa Avenue outside of Ottumwa corporate limits.
There are approximately 180 trucks that go in and out on Iowa Avenue every single day.