When Grand Prairie Parkway was completed in December 2015, it opened a new gateway to Waukee from the south and gave commuters a more direct connection to the Interstate. But, the City isn’t done improving this main thoroughfare quite yet. The widening of Alice’s Road north of University Avenue will begin in April, taking it from two lanes to six.
“The widening of Alice’s Road has been in the planning phases for several years now,” said Waukee City Administrator Tim Moerman. “We often hear from residents who are frustrated that we did not widen Alice’s Road concurrently with the construction of Grand Prairie Parkway. While the City budget did not allow us to do both projects simultaneously, we built Grand Prairie with the future widening of Alice’s Road already in mind.”
City officials consider the Grand Prairie Parkway and Alice’s Road projects to be under one umbrella. The construction of Grand Prairie Parkway from Interstate 80 to University consisted of Phases 1, 2 and 3. The widening of Alice’s Road north of University will consist of Phases 4 and 5.
Phase 4 will begin this April and will be completed in late fall of this year. It includes the widening of the road from University Avenue to SE Olson Drive as well as construction of a new pedestrian underpass that will provide a safe place to cross Alice’s Road via the Heart of the Warrior recreational trail. Phase 5 will begin in April 2018 and will be completed in the fall of 2018. It includes the improvements from SE Olson Drive to just north of Hickman Road. And, the best news about the project is that Alice’s Road will remain open throughout construction!
“We know it would be detrimental for drivers and businesses to completely close down Alice’s Road for the better part of two years. The project’s designer [Foth Infrastructure & Environment] recommended a way to keep the road open,” said Waukee Public Works Director John Gibson. “At the beginning of the 2017 phase, the existing two lanes of Alice’s Road will remain open to traffic while three of the new northbound lanes are built next to the old road. Halfway through the summer when those lanes are completed, we will open those to traffic, tear out the two old lanes and build the three southbound lanes.”
Gibson noted that there will be some intermittent road closures near Alice’s Road. SE Olson Drive and Frontier Drive will both be affected by temporary closures, but not at the same time. City communications channels and large on-site signs will alert drivers of upcoming closures or traffic slow-downs.
As with all construction, much is dependent on weather and other uncontrollable circumstances. The project timeline will change as needed. Here is a tentative timeline of what will occur in 2017’s Phase 4 of the Alice’s Road widening project:
- Anticipated start of Phase 4 construction
- Grading east of Alice’s Road for fiber relocation
- Construct storm sewer main, laterals and intakes
- Relocate and construct water main
- SE Olson Drive closed to the east of Alice’s Road for reconstruction
- Construct future northbound and auxiliary turn lanes
- Construct eastern portion of pedestrian underpass and trail/utility connections
- SE Olson Drive to the west of Alice’s Road closed for reconstruction
- Traffic pattern shift to new northbound lanes and construction of future southbound lanes
- Construct western portion of pedestrian underpass and trail/utility connections
- SE Frontier Drive closed for reconstruction
- Construct raised center median
- Construct temporary pavement to Phase 5
- Activate lighting and permanent public signals
If all goes as planned, the new six-lane portion of Alice’s Road from University to SE Olson will open in its entirety in late fall of 2017 with the stretch from SE Olson to north of Hickman opening in fall 2018. The estimated cost of Phase 4 is $9.8 million. The estimated cost of Phase 5 is $13.2 million. The project will be funded by a combination of GO Bonds and federal transportation funding.
The City of Waukee has several tools to help drivers stay up-to-date on Alice’s Road improvement progress:
Thank you in advance for your patience and for being extra attentive when driving through what will soon be an area surrounded by construction workers and heavy equipment. This project will take some time, but it will greatly improve the traffic flow within the City of Waukee.