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North Liberty to Widen Major Roads

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has awarded North Liberty a more than $400,000 grant to widen Penn Street from Alexander Way west to Interstate 380.

The money, a part of the DOT's Clean Air Attainment Program, will be aimed at cutting down congestion on the busy road in order to help reduce pollution.

"We have traffic sometimes backed up from Interstate 380 all the way back to Highway 965 in the morning," said Mayor Tom Salm.

But, with an additional $200,000 from the city, North Liberty will make the entire area on Penn Street five lanes wide.

"It's a pretty substantial length into the community and really focuses on where that congestion is in the a.m. and p.m.," said city manager Ryan Heiar.

But that's not the only project coming to North Liberty. This spring the city will make a $7 million upgrade to Highway 965 from Scales Bend Road to Penn Street. The project could take more than a year to complete.

"It's going to be a major project for us. It's also going to be a major hassle for detours, but I think it'll be worth the hassle in the end with the much improved roadway," Heiar said.

Not only that, Salm said, the construction will help bring new business to town, as well.

"They're key to our growth.We've got people coming into town, and nobody likes to be stuck in traffic -- especially me," Salm said, with a laugh. "So, we're working on it."

While the Scales Bend project will start this spring, the lane widening on Penn Street will not start until 2015, Heiar said.
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