Hearing Set on Mount Vernon-Lisbon Bypass Environmental Impact

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

LISBON, Iowa - State highway officials will conduct a public hearing on the newly-released environmental assessment for the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Highway 30 bypass project at a meeting this month.

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced the release of the Environmental Assessment document Wednesday. It will receive comments and answer questions about the document at a meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Lisbon Community School, 235 West School St.

The six-mile project is intended to improve safety and reduce congestion on Highway 30 as it crosses the two communities by creating a four-lane bypass without at-grade crossings.

As envisioned, the project includes construction of an interchange between the new bypass and Highway 1 about one-half mile southwest of the existing Highway 30/Highway 1 interchange. It also includes construction of a new two-lane connection from Lisbon southeast to Adams Avenue, and construction of an interchange between that new two-lane and the new four-lane bypass about one-half mile southwest of the existing Highway 30/Adams Avenue intersection.

Side road overpass bridges are planned at Willowcreek Road, Highway 1, Standing Rock Road, Sutliff Road, Greenridge Road, and the new two-lane Connection to Adams Avenue, and at a local connector east of Lisbon.

The project is funded at a $50 million level in the DOT's latest five-year highway plan, released last summer. The funding would complete grading for the project in 2017, but completion would bring the total price tag into the $100 million range.

Transportation Planner Cathy Cutler of the DOT's District 6 office in Cedar Rapids said the environmental assessment was signed and approved Sept. 24 by the Federal Highway Administration.

The document is now in a public comment period scheduled to close on Nov. 12, with copies available for review at the Mount Vernon and Lisbon public libraries. Cutler said the DOT is requesting that the Federal Highway Administration issue a finding of "no significant impact" that would allow the project to proceed.

Among the various environmental issues addressed in the assessment are the significant amount of woodlands the project would affect, and some wetlands impacts.

While DOT officials will be available at the meeting to answer questions about the document, they expect most of the public interest to focus on private property affected by the project.

DOT engineers will be on hand to answer questions about effects specific to properties, Cutler said.

Written comments about the project may be sent to the Director, Office of Location and Environment, Iowa Department of Transportation, 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, 50010.

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