Iowa DOT plans project to transform US 63 into a Super 2 Corridor

Iowa DOT Tama Co. Detour Map

Iowa DOT will be transforming US Highway 63 following the Federal Highway Administration Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) process.

The Super 2 corridor spans from Poweshiek through Tama and ends in Black Hawk County. The first phase of the project starts at Highway 6 in Poweshiek into Tama County to the south city limits of Tama. The Poweshiek County project is estimated to cost $7 million, and the Tama County project is estimated at $10 million.

“These improvements will help all of the commuters going back and forth to Waterloo get there faster and safer, allow more passing which means less road rage and lower commute times,” said Iowa DOT Assistant District Engineer of District 1 Allison Smyth.

The PEL study focuses on roadway improvements such as: evaluating existing paved or partially paved intersections for turn lane improvements, identifying climbing/passing lane locations, and identifying spot roadway locations to address operational or safety concerns.

The recommendations for transforming US 63 into a Super-2 are as follows:

Improvement of mobility and safety on the two-lane highway.

Enhancing public support corridor.

Future projected traffic can be served with a two-lane highway.

Improving the existing two-lane highway to a Super-2 will cost only 15-20 percent of what a four-lane highway would cost.

“Because we’re using a Super 2 corridor instead of four-laning, we can minimize the right of way, which minimizes impacts on the properties along the way and on the environment. It’s a really good solution for US 63,” said Smyth.

The US 63 PEL Study recommends improving some of the existing turn lanes and proposing new turn lanes at many of the fully or partially paved intersections. Currently, there are 17 partially and fully paved intersections with a turn lane. Three of these will be upgraded to include a major right-turning lane. Another intersection will add a deceleration lane with tapers while also proposing the addition of 16 new turning lanes.

With the PEL recommendation of adding 18 total climbings and passing lanes, consisting of five climbing lanes and four passing lanes in both north and southbound directions.

“[This project] allows less time getting stuck behind farm vehicles [and] makes it a lot safer for the farmers trying to move things also. There are hills along the route and a lot of things going on, so we’ll allow them that space to get off onto the climbing lane to let regular commuters pass them by. Hopefully, this is a safe solution for everybody,” said Smyth.

Property owners along US 63 will be contacted within the coming months about right-of-way acquisitions where the highway will be widened by Iowa DOT agents.

Contact Assistant District Engineer Allison Smyth at 515-239-1039 or by email at allison.smyth@iowadot.us.

Full-sized maps are available on the Iowa DOT website and for full details on the Iowa DOT Plan for US 63, visit: https://www.news.iowadot.gov/pim/2022/11/proposed-improvements-to-us-63-to-be-discussed-in-tama-on-december-6-2022.html