The Iowa Department of Transportation plans to expand U.S. Highway 30 in Tama and Benton Counties to four lanes, but some landowners say the DOT wants too much of their farmland to do it.
The DOT is buying land this year to expand 25 miles of the two lane roadway to four lanes.
Charles and Dean Ledvina say they don’t mind giving up a bit of their family’s farmland for a wider and safer Highway 30. They say if two lanes were added to the existing highway, they’d give up three acres. But the DOT plan is to build an entirely new four-lane highway about 200 feet north of the existing roadway. That would take almost 12 acres of Ledvina land…about ten percent of their small farm. They say although the DOT is offering a fair price for the property, they’d suffer a permanent loss of income.
DOT district engineer Scott Dockstader says constructing a whole new highway away from the existing highway would cut the time required for the whole project from seven years to four…saving seven million dollars.
There is also pressure to finish the project sooner because of the increased truck traffic due to the recent opening of a meat packing plant on the east side of Tama.
Dockstader says once the new Highway 30 route is complete, portions of the old highway could be used for frontage road, or it might be returned to original owners.