Southwest Arterial Construction

The critical component of Dubuque’s transportation strategy is the construction of a vital missing link in the existing regional transportation network, a Southwest (SW) Arterial that connects U.S. 61/151 and U.S. 20. Dubuque plans to construct a 6.1 mile four-lane, hard-surfaced SW Arterial on a new alignment between U.S. 61/151 and U.S. 20. The SW Arterial roadway will have priority 1-access control, providing an alternate, direct and efficient route for traffic through southwestern Dubuque and Dubuque County.

The SW Arterial will provide the missing connector to the major U.S. highways in the region and will provide for improved regional traffic flow and reduced travel times. The SW Arterial will reduce traffic congestion on U.S. 61/151 and U.S. 20 (currently service level D and F facilities), as well as the local street system, including Central Avenue (U.S. 52/3) through the downtown and Kelly Lane, which intersects a residential neighborhood. The SW Arterial is expected to reduce travel time for those traveling from Delaware County, Clayton County, and western Dubuque County by 22.95 percent.

Based on the analysis of travel patterns from the DMATS transportation planning models, there are 3,600 regional trips per day (as of 2000) from the junction of U.S. 61 and U.S. 151 to the northwest part of Dubuque. These regional trips are forecast to increase to 6,700 per day in the year 2025. U.S. 20 carries 28,000 vehicles per day through Dubuque with 6 percent to 10 percent being truck traffic, which, when combined with hilly terrain and numerous traffic signals, cause operational issues which extend to all motorists. U.S. 20 is projected to carry 35,800 vehicles per day by 2020 and 42,000 vehicles per day by 2030. After construction of the SW Arterial, the DMATS model estimates that five percent of the heavy vehicles trips per day will be diverted from all major corridors to the SW Arterial.

The SW Arterial will also connect two industrial parks on the west side of the City (Dubuque Industrial Center and Dubuque Industrial Center West) with the Dubuque Technology Center on the south side of Dubuque, providing access to U.S. 61/151 and on to Interstate 80. Since 1996, the Dubuque City Council, Dubuque County Board of Supervisors, DMATS Policy Committee, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation have all identified the completion of the SW Arterial project as their number one surface transportation project.  See letters of support. 

Based on IOWA DOT’s Road Segment Benefit/Cost Safety Analysis spreadsheet, from 2001 to 2006, the present value of avoided crash benefits would equal $118,510,998 over the life of the project. The safety benefit-cost ratio is 2.49 to 1 based on a $49,799,979 TIGER grant. Overall, the Dubuque Regional Sustainable Transportation Initiative will reduce traffic crashes by 35 percent on the road network. Cost/safety analysis related to this project can be found here.

Working with Iowa DOT and its consultants, the City of Dubuque has developed an enhanced design for the SW Arterial. We reviewed the top six resources, guides or rating systems for sustainable design: Dubuque’s Sustainable Initiatives, based 3 sustainable  principles, the foundation of this project’s sustainable efforts; Eco-Logical, a regional ecosystem based guide to create integrated transportation and green infrastructure planning projects; Greenroads, a rating system developed to distinguish roadways that are more sustainable than a typical roadway; LEED 3.0 2009 for New Construction, a national standard used by architects, landscape architects, engineers and designers to measure the level of
sustainability, primarily on buildings; Sustainable Sites Initiative, a rating system designed to measure the long term sustainability of the developed landscape; and Iowa Green Streets, a rating system aimed at providing Iowa communities a roadmap for making their communities
more sustainable. When combined, these guides and rating systems will establish a baseline to ‘score’ sustainability within the SW Arterial project. The development of sustainability criteria for highway and arterial design and construction of the SW Arterial will provide a national model for street projects.

The sustainable design focus of the SW Arterial includes four principal categories and five focus areas. The principal categories are: planning, design, construction and post-construction. The five focus areas are: ecological components, health components, materials selection, construction methodologies & procedures, and operations & maintenance. Integration with the Smarter City Intelligent Transportation Solution will accomplish the following goals and objectives for a smarter, more sustainable SW Arterial:
• Use the provision of transportation to support economic growth and preservation for urban and rural life.
• Integrate existing and future land use and transportation planning.
• Provide a safe and secure transportation route.
• Provide affordable mobility for all.
• Minimize the negative environmental effects of transportation.
• Provide a multi-modal transportation system including provisions for safe pedestrian,bicycle, public transit, farm equipment and wildlife movement.
• Enhance and maintain existing infrastructure.
• Coordinate land use and transportation development.
• Increase accessibility and mobility options.
• Protect the natural and rural environment.
• Promote energy conservation and the development of renewable energy resources.
• Use existing and proven rating systems as a way to measure the level of achieved sustainability.

Additional information about the Southwest Arterial project, can be viewed here.