WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Supports Road Grant

Jan 19, 2013

The Lee County Board of Supervisors has signed off on a revised application for an Iowa Department of Transportation RISE grant on behalf of Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFC).

The Lee County Board of Supervisors

The Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC) is preparing the application.

SEIRPC Director Mike Norris says the money would be used to build an access road connecting 180th & 190th Streets near the company’s proposed plant near Wever.

The initial RISE grant application also called for the resurfacing of the gravel 180th Street and the addition of acceleration lanes on Highway 61 to allow for heavy truck traffic.

Norris says the plan has changed, though, prompting the revised application.

He says IFC feels it would be better to take advantage of an existing interchange at 190th Street, which is about one mile south of 180th Street.

All heavy truck traffic would use 190th Street and the new access road to reach the plant.

The local match for the estimated $9-million project would be paid by Iowa Fertilizer Company, per a development agreement with Lee County.

Norris says the Iowa Transportation Commission could rule on the grant next month.

Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors has also passed a resolution in support of building an overpass above a set of railroad tracks that intersect 190th Street.

The idea is to prevent lengthy waits for neighbors when trains are loading or unloading.

The overpass is not included in the RISE grant being sought by Iowa Fertilizer Company.


An unanswered question is impacting one Lee County department’s future plans.

The maintenance department only included a few capital projects in its upcoming budget because it did not know how to account for a roughly $500,000 expansion of the jail.

The Board of Supervisors agreed, last year, to add cells to accommodate a growing female population without determining from where the money would come.

Chairman Rick Larkin believes the expansion will proceed.

“I think we will be able to find the money,” says Larkin.  “It is just whether that is what we want to use (the money) for.  I think (the expansion) is still needed.”

The supervisors are waiting for a jail expansion update from the project manager.

The list of proposed capital projects does include painting an exterior wall at the Heritage Center and remodeling several rooms in the South Lee County Courthouse.