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Homeowners by Iowa interstate demand better communication with reconstruction project

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 9:58 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - An interstate reconstruction project in Council Bluffs has nearby homeowners demanding the state build better communication.

They claim a lack of notice when road work affects them. Concrete removal in front of their house pushed Betty Yearington and family to a breaking point.

“It was enough of a shock the house was shaking, we didn’t know they were going to be doing this today,” said daughter Kristin Mass.

The contactor dropped rock for access in and out of the driveway but before that, Kristin and Kevin had to take off with Betty providing ground control.

“Had to go through my backyard,” said Betty.

Across the street, Marilyn Good says homeowners next to the interstate rebuilding project want to know what’s down the road.

“Sometimes I go out and ask them what’s going on, what are you going to do,” said homeowner Good.

An Iowa Traffic Operations Engineer says neighbors’ complaints are being heard.

“We can always get better about telling the residents what’s going on. I know we’ve sent out postcards and we have a project website that’s updated continually,” said Austin Yates, Iowa DOT.

Access is just one concern of two neighbors. They’re still saying they are living on the edge and it will continue that way throughout the project.

So they’re asking why can’t the state just buy them out? Both houses stand close to construction and traffic in about a year.

“I’d like them to buy me out because this one, I don’t think is going to make it through the whole construction,” said Betty.

But a buyout isn’t in the plans.

“When everything is all done, it’s not close enough to what’s permanently changed,” said Yates.

Expert studies show a sound wall isn’t warranted either but state engineers promise an effort to repair cracks in the relationship with neighbors who must endure progress almost on their doorstep.

”Just buy us out and get rid of us, then your problems are over, and so are mine,” said Good.

When it’s all said and done, the two neighbors will live next to eight lanes, the closest will be a street connecting three avenues.

And west of that, a frontage road and then I-29 that expands to three lanes in each direction.

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