2nd Avenue Corridor Construction
The 2nd Avenue Bridge over Birdland Drive was constructed in 1936 and altered and widened in 1986. Based on its condition, it was determined to be more cost-effective to fully replace the structure with a new bridge. The 2nd Avenue Bridge over the Des Moines River was constructed in 1935 and widened in 1985. With the 2nd Avenue Bridge over Birdland Drive proposed for replacement, the City also evaluated the condition of the Des Moines River bridge and determined that bridge is candidate for rehabilitation and will not be replaced.
A new storm sewer along the west side of 2nd Avenue from College Avenue to the Des Moines River is needed as part of the River Bend and King Irving Sewer Separation project to remove stormwater from the combined sanitary sewers in the River Bend and King Irving areas.
2nd Avenue from University Avenue to the Des Moines River is currently a 40-foot-wide, 4-lane-across section of roadway (lane widths ranging from 9.5 feet to 10 feet) with disconnected 4-feet-wide sidewalks on either side. Due to the condition, the pavement along this stretch of roadway needs complete reconstruction.
The storm sewer and pavement reconstruction work provide an opportunity to consider geometric improvements to the street.
2nd Avenue from University Avenue to the Des Moines River will be under construction starting late March 2022 through 2025.
Construction along this corridor includes:
• Replacement of the 2nd Avenue Bridge over Birdland Drive (late March 2022 -Fall 2023)
• Rehabilitation of the 2nd Avenue Bridge over the Des Moines River (Spring 2022 – Fall 2023)
• Select Utility Relocation (2023)
• Full pavement reconstruction of 2nd Avenue from University Avenue to the Des Moines River (2024 and 2025)
• Storm sewer installation along the west side of 2nd Avenue from College Avenue to Franklin Avenue (2024 and 2025)
The City hired a traffic engineering consultant to complete a traffic study of the 2nd Avenue corridor from University Avenue to the Des Moines River to determine if geometric improvements to the street were needed. The study looked at crash trends, existing and future traffic operations, and multi-modal accommodations. The traffic study showed that 2nd Avenue had higher average crash rates along the corridor and at several intersections when compared to statewide average crash rates for similar corridors and intersections. The study also identified the following issues present along the corridor:
- No turn lanes provided at intersections
- Narrow travel lanes (less than 10 feet in width)
- Proximity of utility poles to the road
- Inadequate access management
2nd Avenue Corridor Traffic Study
Questions Related to Storm Sewer & Roadway ConstructionMatt K. Radermacher, P.E.
Questions Related to BridgesBen M. Cole, P.E.
Media InquiriesCommunications Office
What does the street reconstruction project include?
Based on the traffic study, the City proposes the following improvements along the 2nd Avenue Corridor. The concept drawing shows the 2nd Avenue reconstruction from University Avenue to the Des Moines River which includes:
- Pavement Reconstruction - Full pavement reconstruction of four-lane with 11-foot wide lanes, new curbs and gutters and new five-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides.
- Forest Avenue Realignment - Realignment of the east leg of Forest Avenue at the intersection of 2nd Avenue to align with the west leg of Forest Avenue at the intersection of 2nd Avenue.
- Clark Street Realignment - Realignment of the east leg of Clark Street at the intersection of 2nd Avenue to align with the west leg of Clark Street at the intersection of 2nd Avenue.
- Left-Turn Lanes at Select Intersections – Adding left-turn lanes at the following intersections along 2nd Avenue:
- Franklin Avenue (2nd Avenue northbound left-turn lane).
- College Avenue (2nd Avenue northbound and southbound left-turn lanes).
- Forest Avenue (2nd Avenue northbound and southbound left-turn lanes).
- Clark Street (2nd Avenue northbound and southbound left-turn lanes).
- Access Control Improvements – Eliminate and/or consolidate driveway accesses along the corridor to reduce the number of conflict points / turning movements.
What does the bridge reconstruction project include?
The existing bridge over the Des Moines River is a 500 ft. long, 5-span steel girder bridge. The bridge rehabilitation will include re-construction of the bridge deck in the outer two beam bays to facilitate new construction of an 11’ wide trail along the east side of the bridge and 5’ wide sidewalk on the west side. New traffic barrier railings will be constructed, along with new ornamental exterior handrails. Accent lighting is added to the exterior railing and bridge piers. The bridge deck will be spot-repaired with a new fiber-reinforced concrete overlay. The existing bridge beams and bearing assemblies will be sand-blasted and receive a new paint coating system.
The existing bridge over Birdland Drive will be fully removed and replaced. The new bridge will be longer than the existing bridge to miss old foundations, but the bridge cross-section will match that of the river bridge. The traffic barrier rails and ornamental handrails will match that of the river bridge. Unfortunately, the low clearance on Birdland Drive (under the bridge) can not be improved. The elevation of 2nd Avenue controls and with the proximity of the levee system, and existing utilities, it was cost prohibitive.
Additionally, the Neal Smith trail currently passes underneath the north side of the river bridge. This section of the trail will be relocated to pass under the new Birdland Drive bridge. This will help keep the trail open longer during high water.
Will property acquisition be necessary?
The street reconstruction will require right-of-way (ROW) acquisition along the 2nd Avenue corridor. In some cases, approximately four feet of right-of-way will be needed along various properties; in other cases, partial or full property acquisition may be required. The City’s Real Estate Division and City Engineering staff will work directly with individual property owners impacted by the proposed improvements.
The basic procedures the City of Des Moines follows in acquiring property interests for public improvement projects are shown in the Real Estate brochure.
When will construction occur?
The bridge project was let through the Iowa DOT in January 2022. Bridge construction is anticipated to start in March/April 2022 and be complete in late 2023. The City estimates a majority of the bridge construction will occur in 2022 and 2023, a majority of the storm sewer construction will occur in 2024, and a majority of the road reconstruction will occur from 2024 through 2025.
Will roads be closed during construction?
There will be road closures and lane reductions during construction. 2nd Avenue will have one lane of traffic in each direction open at a time during construction. Driveway access points along the corridor will be maintained as much as possible by staging construction or temporary gravel accesses, except when construction is occurring immediately in front of the access or the access is being replaced. During bridge construction, the bridges will be constructed in stages to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction. One sidewalk across the bridges will be maintained. Birdland Drive will be closed for most of the time while the 2nd Avenue Bridge is under construction. Once construction starts, updates will be posted on the Road Closure Map on the City's website.
2nd Avenue Construction (South of the 2nd Ave Bridge)
2nd Avenue Construction (Over the Birdland Drive Bridge)
2nd Avenue Construction (North of both bridges)
Will the Neal Smith Trail be closed during construction?
The Neal Smith Trail, along the north side of the Des Moines River, will remain open for a majority of the bridge construction. The trail currently passes underneath the north span of the river bridge. During bridge work, protective scaffolding system will be used to allow trail users to pass through the construction site. Sign postings will be provided.
Will Birdland Drive (under the bridge) be closed during construction?
Yes. Birdland Drive (under the 2nd Avenue Bridge) will be closed for the majority of time the bridge is under construction. Once bridge construction starts in early 2022, Birdland Drive will remain closed until end of construction in late 2023.
How much will construction cost?
The Road Reconstruction and Storm Sewer work, anticipated to be under one construction contract, is estimated to cost in total $16.5 Million.
The Rehabilitation of the 2nd Avenue Bridge over Des Moines River and the replacement of the 2nd Avenue Bridge over Birdland Drive are estimated to cost around $10 Million.
The 2nd Avenue Roadway Reconstruction is part of the Central Place Industrial Park Redevelopment Program Urban Renewal Plan and will be funded with tax increment financing (TIF) assistance. Tax increment financing uses increased property taxes generated by new development within the urban renewal area boundary.
The storm sewer work is funded as part of the City’s sewer separation work out of the storm water and sanitary sewer enterprise, funded by storm water and sanitary sewer user fees. The storm water user fees are charged to every storm water runoff contributor owning or occupying a single-family residential property, a multifamily residential property, an unclassified residential property, or a nonresidential property, other than exempt property, based on rates based on ERU's or Equivalent Resident Unit - the average impervious area of residential developed property per dwelling unit located within the city (ERU=2,349 sf). The sanitary sewer user fees are charged monthly to every customer whose property lies within the corporate limits of the City and are based on a monthly service charge and the usage or volume of estimated through the use of water meter data.
The bridge construction is funded with a combination of funding including Iowa DOT funding, gaming funds, and issuance of General Obligation Bonds which are paid by a levy on all taxable property within the City.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
For media inquiries:
All media inquiries should go through the City’s Communications Office, call (515) 283-4057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions related to the storm sewer and roadway reconstruction, contact:
Matt K. Radermacher, P.E.
City of Des Moines Engineering Department
Phone (515) 283-4076
For questions related to the bridges, contact:
Ben M. Cole, P.E.
City of Des Moines Engineering Department