• Kim Norvell
  • Wed December 28 2016
  • Posted Jan 5, 2017

A bridge over the Raccoon River in far southwest West Des Moines will open up access to thousand of acres of developable land and help pave the way for Veterans Parkway and the Southwest Connector, city officials say.

The City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement with private land owners who will help pay for a portion of the $10.8 million project. The bridge will be the only place to cross the Raccoon River for a 6-mile stretch between Interstate Highway 35 and Booneville.

West Des Moines plans to start construction next year on the two-lane bridge and portions of Grand Prairie Parkway that are north and south of the river. Grand Prairie Parkway will extend from Raccoon River Drive south to the Dallas/Madison county line.

The bridge will cost around $4.5 million, and paving of the road about $6.3 million. The land is owned by Raccoon River Land Co., which includes Knapp Properties and JSC Trust. Raccoon River Land Co. will pay $500,000 for the project and donate 22 acres to the city. Hallett Materials will contribute $1 million. Martin Marietta Materials is also donating land.

Knapp Properties plans residential development on the bluffs and wooded areas that surround Raccoon River, said City Manager Tom Hadden. A representative from Knapp could not be reached for comment.

Once the bridge is constructed, the rest of Veterans Parkway and the so-called Southwest Connector can fall into place, Hadden said.

"There's not a lot of people down there yet, but as the place develops you want to have access," he said.

The existing Grand Prairie Parkway, which sits west of the Jordan Creek area, stretches from the new interchange at Interstate Highway 80 to Mills Civic Parkway. West Des Moines will eventually link the two sections.

Veterans Parkway will then extend from the southern tip of Grand Prairie Parkway and head east and north to connect with Iowa Highway 5.

The Southwest Connector will ultimately provide a connection from Waukee to the south side of Des Moines. It will be two lanes with room to expand to six lanes.


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