The Construction will Improve Convenience and Safety for Students and Visitors
Construction is set to start next month on major improvements near the entrance to the DMACC Ankeny Campus located at Oralabor Road and DMACC Boulevard. intersection in Ankeny.
The improvements, at a primary entrance to the Ankeny Campus, are expected to be completed in time for fall semester classes in August of 2019. The improvements include reworking the intersection to add an additional left lane turn into campus, widening the entrance to DMACC Boulevard and upgrading the traffic signals.
“At peak times, the traffic congestion coming into the Ankeny Campus, particularly in the morning, backs up along Oralabor Road,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “These improvements will allow for more vehicles to enter the campus quicker and improve the safety for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic entering and exiting the Ankeny Campus.”
Denson said the new DMACC Trail Point Aquatics and Wellness center, which opened in 2017, has been a fantastic addition, but likely increased traffic to the Campus.
The Des Moines Area Metro Planning Organization (MPO) traffic forecasts show that approximately 1.1% annual traffic growth is expected on SW Oralabor Road, west of US 69, between 2016 and 2040. According to the latest figures, the average annual daily traffic (AADT) for the SW Oralabor and DMACC Boulevard intersection is 21,800 vehicles and is expected to increase to 33,300 vehicles by the year 2040.
Denson said DMACC requested that Snyder & Associates perform a traffic study of the SW Oralabor Road and DMACC Boulevard intersection to evaluate intersection and traffic control improvement needs.
Some of the Snyder & Associates recommendations include:
- Construct pavement widening along the north side of SW Oralabor Road to provide 250’ long dual eastbound left turn lanes.
- Modify and reconstruct existing SW Oralabor Road medians as needed for the eastbound dual left turn lanes and westbound through lane transitions.
- Provide a 150’ minimum westbound right turn lane. The existing right turn lane is approximately 370’ long.
- Maintain existing westbound left turn lane, and replace the turn lane taper to connect to transitioning westbound through lanes.
- Remove the existing painted westbound right turn island to accommodate dual eastbound left turning traffic.
- Modify trail connections and pedestrian ramp in the northeast quadrant of the intersection, due to pavement widening.
- Modify the existing traffic signal installation as needed to accommodate dual left turn lanes and pavement widening.
"DMACC, the City of Ankeny and the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) are working together on the project. This will improve traffic flow for students coming into DMACC, especially in the morning because of the heavy east bound traffic,” said Ankeny Public Works Director and City Engineer Mark Mueller. “Improving that mobility and reducing the backup on Oralabor should help the overall traffic flow on Oralabor.”
Iowa Department of Transportation Assistant Director 1 Engineer Tony Gustafson said adding a second left hand turning lane onto DMACC Boulevard will help students get to Campus and Trail Point Aquatics and Wellness Center members get to their workouts.
“There was a capacity issue at this intersection during certain times of the day,” said Gustafson. “This will increase capacity to that intersection and help other phases of the intersection work better, including pedestrian crossing times”.
He added that since portions of Oralabor will need to be closed, some construction will take place at night.
The low bid for the project was Hawkeye Paving Corporation of Bettendorf for just under $1.2 million. The cost of the project will be shared among DMACC, the city of Ankeny and the Iowa Department of Transportation.