Record $427M Planned to Fix Des Moines Streets

DES MOINES, IOWA — Tuesday, March 3, 2020 – To rebuild streets and replace crumbling pavement, the City of Des Moines has proposed a massive investment in street improvements over the next seven years. More than $427 million in street construction, repair and rehabilitation is proposed between now and fiscal year 2026. That is an average of $61 million annually and double the previous yearly average of $30 million. 

As part of the proposed five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP), fiscal year 2023 will be the peak investment year for street improvements with a record $92 million forecasted. The City Council will consider the five-year CIP plan on March 23.

Annual Investment for Street Improvements

FY2020  $62,446,866 budgeted
FY2021 $59,805,768 budgeted
FY2022 $64,600,000 proposed
FY2023 $92,180,000 proposed
FY2024 $56,430,000 proposed
FY2025 $48,600,000 proposed
FY2026 $43,600,000 proposed
Total $427,622,634

While the financial commitment is historic, the amount of work needed is significant with 43 percent of Des Moines streets rated in poor or very poor condition. *

“The City’s vision includes a complete transportation system providing safe and efficient infrastructure for walking, bicycling, mass transit and automobiles,” said City Engineer Steve Naber. “The Mayor and Council recognized the need for action and a much greater investment in street improvements which will result in a considerable difference across Des Moines over the coming years.”

Strengthening the street improvement effort is the Local Option Sales & Service Tax that Des Moines voters approved last spring and went into effect in July. In the fiscal year starting this July, roughly $7 million in Local Option revenue will directly fund street improvements with an additional $23 million applied to debt service of bonds issued for street work and the CIP Plan.

“The condition of our streets didn’t happen overnight and won’t be resolved quickly, however, there is now a substantial financial commitment to reinvest in better streets for our neighborhoods, residents and businesses,” said Public Works Director Jonathan Gano. “The job is a big one, but we’re heading in the right direction of rebuilding streets to higher standards for a longer trouble-free life.”

Gano added that for Des Moines, the challenge in repairing streets comes down to two factors: weather and volume. Des Moines has the most streets of any city in Iowa, a staggering 2,207 lane miles that require a monumental amount of maintenance and repair. Those efforts are compounded by our harsh Midwest winters and the freeze-thaw cycle that weakens pavement and creates potholes.

Report a Pothole
As we move into the peak of pothole season, Director Gano encourages residents to notify the City of streets needing short-term patching and repair. He says you can report a pothole to the City three ways: use the mobile app myDSMmobile, call the Public Works 24-Hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 or go online to and click Report an Issue.

(*) Des Moines Street Conditions
• 5% Excellent
• 17% Good
• 35% Fair
• 35% Poor
• 8% Very Poor
(Des Moines Public Works Survey 2019)

Learn more at

Five year street maintenance plan

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit 
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