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Expanding Neighbors

MARION, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Cedar Rapids and Marion have been established communities for more than a century, but even they are looking to still expand.

Like the early settlers, they're looking west.

Both cities are jointly considering a nearly $10 million extension of Tower Terrace Road, starting in Marion and extending into northwest Cedar Rapids.

The plan is to expand west, laying the groundwork to build north, giving Marion, which is already one of the fastest growing communities, even more room to grow.

Right now, the crickets near the already-competed portion of Tower Terrace Road are the only signs of life near by. But don't be fooled, people have been and still are coming to the city.

"We've added more than 10,000 people in the last 15 years and get our commercial growth hasn't really kept pace with that many people coming into the community," said Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn.

Help is on the way.

A proposed $9.7 million extension of Tower Terrace Road would harvest a few corn and soybean fields for good, connecting the existing road to C Avenue in Cedar Rapids.

The two cities are splitting the balance of what nearly $7 million in federal funds won't cover.

"It's a much larger project that we would normlly work with the city of Marion," said Cedar Rapids Capital Improvements Project Manager Doug Wilson.

The project would have a much larger potential payoff.

Right now, getting from Marion west to Interstate 380 is pretty tough.

"There really isn't much that is a straight shot all the way through," said Pluckhahn.

The extension would just be one part of a much larger plan that could eventually connect all the way to the interstate, even helping congestion in Cedar Rapids.

"It would certainly reduce traffic on Blairs Ferry Road potentially Collins Road and by offering an alternate route," said Wilson.

"We look at Tower Terrace Road, particularly because it's going to run eventually from 380 over to Highway 13 as our next commercial corridor," said Pluckhahn.

Turning the crickets song into something we can all listen too.

The city says it could all be a reality as early as 2016, but potentially even earlier.
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