Brooke to update council on road project Tuesday

CLINTON -- The Clinton City Council on Tuesday will hear an update from City Administrator Matt Brooke regarding the status of a federal grant to fund a major city roadway project.

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant application by city officials would fund reconstruction of approximately four miles of Manufacturing Drive and Bluff Boulevard from U.S. 30 to North Fifth Street. The city submitted an application the grant last summer, but after being denied by the United States Dept. of Transportation, local government and transportation officials were sent back to the drawing board to find out how to successfully obtain the grant.

In the weeks after the denial was announced, Brooke, Mayor Mark Vulich, and others consulted with relevant parties to learn how they could more effectively apply for the grant. At a recent council meeting, both Brooke and Vulich expressed optimism that they had pinpointed areas in which they could improve upon.

The overall reconstruction would include converting the roadway to three lanes, adding a roundabout and separating sewer and sanitary lines including bio-swells to capture rainwater and filter storm water. The $22.7 million grant would have covered more than 70 percent of the expected $31.6 million cost of the project, according to city officials.

In addition to the city's $3 million contribution to the project, another $3 million has been pledged from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Iowa American Water pledged $2.9 million to aid in sewer-pumping improvement. The rest will come from the federal grant, officials hope.

At a July 2018 presentation regarding the project, dubbed "The Drive to Prosperity," Vulich and Brooke discussed not only the infrastructure assets the improvements would provide but also the safety concerns that would be addressed. The stretch of roadway has been the site of numerous accidents in recent years, many of which have involved injury, with some even resulting in death, they said.

Despite the disappointing news about denial of the grant last fall, Vulich said there is still enough funding available to begin a small first phase of the project, starting at the south end of Manufacturing Drive near U.S. 30. Vulich said that $3 million is waiting in the wings to support that first phase.