- Associated Press - Friday, July 28, 2017

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa transportation officials have announced preliminary plans to demolish more than 30 homes as part of work on freeways in the southwestern part of the state.

Wes Mayberry, a transportation engineer specialist with the state Department of Transportation, told The Daily Nonpareil the number of homes affected may change because the fourth segment of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program is still in its concept phase.

“We’re still refining the designs to reduce the number of impacts we need to make,” Mayberry said. “Things could change.”

Mayberry said the department hopes to start buying and demolishing the mix of single- and multi-family houses later this year or early next year. The department must first complete an environmental evaluation for the project.

“We only take the ones that are necessary that are impacted by the project,” Mayberry said. “Once we identify that we need the property and the home, there’s a relocation process. If someone is living there, we work to get them relocated to something equivalent to what they have today.”

The department may end up using eminent domain to obtain property if homeowners are unwilling to sell and negotiations cease, Mayberry said.

“We seldom use that,” he said. “During the negotiation process, we come up with a price everyone can be happy walking away with.”

The project will also require changes to Dodge Riverside Golf Course.

Council Bluffs City Council unanimously voted Monday to have Mayor Matt Walsh work with the department to accommodate the project.

The department will host a public meeting Aug. 15 to present the final plans.


Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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