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Proposed changes to Highway 69 include additional lanes, new roundabouts and more

The Iowa DOT wants to make the busy road as safe as possible for the growing area.

AMES, Iowa — There's some good news for Des Moines drivers. Your morning commute might be getting a little bit easier, thanks to some proposed improvements to U.S. Highway 69.

The changes would run from the Warren County Line in Des Moines to I-80 in Polk County. There's a lot of proposed additions, mostly focused on making the road safer.

"Our number one goal is safety. So this is a high traffic corridor. The higher the traffic, there's a greater chance for crashes," said Tony Gustafson, District 1 engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation.

So, what all is being considered? New left and right turn lanes. Roundabouts. Medians. Adaptive traffic light timing--all designed to make the highway as safe and flexible as possible for a growing population.

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"We've got numbers you know in the 60,000 plus corridor, so it's, it's a heavy, very important corridor for commuters through Des Moines, for the businesses along the highway, for the schools along the highway," Gustafson said. 

One other addition may come as a bit of a surprise— new bike and pedestrian lanes. There would be three total shared-used paths throughout the highway. The DOT has been seeing an increased demand for this sort of option.

"The study recommended some off corridor or off-US Highway 69, where the traffic is less for some of those other modes of transportation because there is a keen interest in transportation besides in your vehicles," Gustafson said.

All these changes won't be happening overnight. Even the shortest-term project in the new proposal could take anywhere from 5 to 7 years to pan out. 

If you'd like to review the materials and provide feedback to the Iowa DOT, the link to that information can be found here.

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