10:43 PM 20 October 2014

Project Overview

The Highway 34 Coalition is advocating for the completion of US 34 between Monmouth, IL and Burlington, IA as a four-lane expressway.

The present status of the project: (as of 3-16-10)

  • Phase-I Engineering, which is the location study and the environmental impact statement, was completed on February 10, 2004.
  • Phase-II Engineering, which are the plans and specifications from which a contractor would submit a bid on and the project would be constructed from, are currently funded for all four (4) proposed construction sections of US 34 as follows:
    • Carman Road to East of TR 111 (1350 E) - Pre-final stage
    • East of TR 111 (1350 E) to TR 190 (1850 E) - Anticipated start summer of 2010 (2 year duration for plan preparation)
    • TR 190 (1850 E) to south of Kirkwood - Start anticipated in late 2010 (estimated 2 year duration for plan preparation)
    • South of Kirkwood to the US 67 interchange south of Monmouth - Pre-final stage

What has already been accomplished?

  • Great River Bridge: Four-lane bridge over the Mississippi River completed and open to the public in 1994 ($57 million)
  • Great River Bridge to Carman Road: (2.2 miles): Completed FY99 as four-lanes ($7.3 million)
  • Carman Road to US 67 at Monmouth: (23.6 miles): Phase-I Engineering ($3.6 million)
  • South of Kirkwood to US 67 at Monmouth: (6.7 miles): Phase-II Engineering ($2.5 million)
  • Carmen Road to West of TR-111: (8.1 miles) ($3.5 million)

What would it cost?

  • Total $$ expended through FY-06: $72.1 million
  • Anticipated expenditures FY-07: $1.8 million
  • Estimated unfunded costs: $255-$303 million

Maps & Studies:

The U.S. 34, U.S. 63, and Iowa 163 Corridor Freight Study is a joint planning effort involving the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance (CIRTPA), Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC), and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (DMAMPO). The Iowa Department of Transportation has also been a key contributor to the project. These agencies are working together and in conjunction with a group of stakeholders from along the corridor to help develop the study.

The study came about as a response to the Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study (UMFCS). The UMFCS evaluates freight movement in the upper Midwest and how to utilize freight infrastructure most efficiently for economic benefit. The Upper Midwest Study did not include the U.S. 34, U.S. 63, and Iowa 163 Corridor into its planning area. Many local officials felt that the corridor will greatly increase its freight carrying potential with it becoming four lanes by 2008, and its strategic advantage connecting I-74 with I-80. The purpose of this study is to better understand the freight carrying potential of the U.S. 34, U.S. 63, and Iowa 163 Corrido in order to benefit local governments and private businesses alike.

If you are interested in more information about this study, please contact Zach James at (319)-753-5107 Ext. 213 or by email at zjames@seirpc.com.

Facts regarding the necessity of improving Highway 34:

  • There is only 23.6 miles (between Monmouth, IL and Burlington, IA) that still needs to be improved to a four-lane in order for all of Hwy 34 to be completed as a four-lane expressway.
  • During the last 10 years, the accidents occurring on the two-lane US 34 between the Mississippi River and IL 164 east of Monmouth resulted in 34 accidents for each mile of the remaining 23.6 miles of two lane road.
  • Three high accident locations have been identified within the 23.6 miles of two-lane road between Monmouth and the Carman Road.
  • Much of US 34 from US 67 to Gulfport lacks adequate shoulder and clear zones, portions of this section do not meet current standards for horizontal alignment, and passing sight distance is limited.
  • 41% of the two-lane route is marked as no-passing zones and several curves have design speeds of 62 mph or less.
  • The proposed improvements are expected to reduce traffic accident rates in these areas by providing a safer, more efficient route between Monmouth and Burlington.
  • US 34 is a key regional corridor for the east-west movement of people and goods in and through west central Illinois. US 34 will be the major east-west corridor between Interstate 74 and the Avenue of the Saints (Interstate 218).
  • The percentage of truck traffic is expected to remain high since US 34 provides a major east-west transportation route for western Illinois. The existing large volume of truck traffic, which is now at 13-31%, is expected to increase.
  • The Great River Bridge/US 34 over the Mississippi River is the only four-lane bridge leading into a four-lane expressway for approximately 130 miles. The nearest crossings for the Mississippi River via state highways are 46 miles north at Muscatine, IA and 17 miles south at Niota, IL. Both are two lane bridges. The nearest four-lane bridges are in the Quad Cities and at Hamilton, IL.
  • Because of its importance to the economic growth of west-central Illinois, US 34 is a regional highway priority, as identified by the Tri-State Development Summit Transportation Task Force.
  • The average daily traffic volume on US 34 ranges from 10,700 west of the Carman blacktop to a range of 3,800 – 9,600 along the corridor and at the US 67 interchange. Projected traffic volumes along the existing route are expected to range from 6,200 to 17,500 in the 2025 design year.
  • Recent consolidation plans involving Union and Southern (now known as West Central CUD) indicate that high school and elementary school students from Southern will be attending school in the existing Union facility, which is located on US 34 just east of Biggsville. This means more traffic, especially teenage drivers on US 34.