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Highway Extension to Ease Traffic

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The dead end where Collins Road ends right underneath Edgewood road will eventually be part of a beltway around Cedar Rapids. The City and Iowa Department of Transportation say the idea is to cut down on traffic while still preserving rural Linn County.

"This kind of completes a circumferential navigation around the City of Cedar Rapids using Highway 100, said the Iowa Department of Transportations Transportation Planner Cathy Cutler.

The plan extending Highway 100, also known as Collins Road, has been in the works dating back to the late 1960s. And Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon remembers exploring the area as a child on her fathers shoulders.

"He said, Monte, look to the west because someday there's going to be a big highway that'll loop all the way around our community, remembered Vernon.

The project would run Highway 100 across the Cedar River about 4 miles north of downtown then turn south and connect with Highway 30. That creates another north/south passage away from Highway 380. Officials say thatll help the roads within the city better handle a growing population.

"I think it's a capacity issue and of course we're always measuring that, said Vernon.

"I mean we have more and more people moving to Cedar Rapids year but when you get more people you're going to get more cars and you're going to get more traffic, said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett.

But right now, the only way to expand is to the west, over much less-developed land.

Heavily wooded areas are the closest you can get to the bridge that crosses the Cedar River, which gives you an idea the kind of land that the Department of Transportation will have to clear to finish the extension.

"We literally have to build our pathway into the river there just aren't any roads or ways to get there until we come, said Cutler.

Once that bridge is built, thats when itll be connected to Highway 100. The paving is set to start in 2015 with the highway being usable in the years after that. Since this is a state project, all $200 million is coming from the Federal Government and the state.
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