Work set to begin on overpass, wind farm
By ANDREW MCGINN
GRAND JUNCTION — Eastern Greene County will be a bustling hive of construction activity this month through year’s end.
When it’s complete, U.S. Highway 30 will sport a new overpass paying tribute to the area’s Lincoln Highway heritage, and as many as 41 new wind turbines will line the horizon.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is expected to begin construction April 17 on its $6.5 million Highway 30 overpass replacement project just outside Grand Junction.
Grading work began at the site March 28, with the bridge contractor scheduled to arrive, weather permitting, April 17, said Jenny Hoskins, Jefferson resident construction engineer for the DOT.
Work will begin with removal of the current overpass, built in 1957.
Completion is expected in November.
Officially, Hoskins said, the detour for eastbound traffic beginning April 17 will be Highway 144 north to Dana, E26 east, then U.S. Highway 169 south to Highway 30.
The Highway 30 overpass — spanning the Union Pacific rail line and 222nd Street — is traveled daily by about 4,830 vehicles, according to the state.
The DOT’s concept for the overpass doubles as a grand tribute to the Lincoln Highway, the country’s first “coast-to-coast rock highway.”
The new overpass purportedly will sport an anti-graffiti coating, which makes vandalism easier to remove.
Not only does Greene County have the longest remaining stretch of the original Lincoln Highway, but the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association — out of which a new national Lincoln Highway Association grew in 1992 — is based in Grand Junction.
Meanwhile, a nearby project also breaking ground this month will be squarely fixated on the future.
A new wind farm being built by MidAmerican Energy in Greene and Boone counties will more than double the number of wind turbines in Greene County.
Currently, Greene County is home to 32 wind turbines — enough to cleanly power Jefferson for a year.
MidAmerican’s new Beaver Creek wind farm will consist of 85 turbines, with as many as 41 located in Greene County, according to Chuck Wenthold, Greene County zoning administrator.
The turbines will be erected in an area just east of Grand Junction to near Ogden along the north side of Highway 30, and north to Boxholm.
The Greene County board of supervisors Monday passed agreements making MidAmerican liable for any damage to roads or to public drainage systems during construction of the wind farm.
Construction will begin with the building of access roads in fields and laying underground transmission lines, Wenthold said, followed by concrete work for the turbine bases in May and June.
The turbines will be brought in from the north over a period of eight to 10 weeks beginning in June using mostly state roads, Wenthold said, but trucks also will use county road E26.
Each turbine takes 11 trucks to deliver all components, he said. The goal is to deliver two towers each day directly to its site.
The Beaver Creek wind farm is part of the utility’s $3.6 billion Wind XI project announced in April 2016, touted as the largest economic development investment in Iowa history.
Greene County can expect property tax benefits of $21 million over the 40-year life of the project.
A wind farm being built concurrently in Mahaska County consists of 84 turbines.
Construction is expected to be complete at the end of 2017.
The overall Wind XI project will see the construction of 1,000 new wind turbines by December 2019.
Based in Des Moines, MidAmerican serves customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.