Highway 30 bypass brings us together

CBJ Editorial 

The quiet opening last month of the Highway 30 Mount Vernon-Lisbon Bypass is a reminder of the importance of Iowa’s second-busiest cross-state route to the Corridor economy.

The Iowa Department of Transportation invested $105 million or more to build the eight-mile bypass from just west of Mount Vernon to the east side of adjacent Lisbon. Projects like the Highway 30 bypass bring the Corridor closer together by reducing travel time. They also reduce accidents caused by turning movements and cross traffic, saving lives and preventing injuries.

Among the lives that will be safer because of it will be the students, faculty, staff and visitors of the Mount Vernon and Lisbon high schools located along the old route.

The bypass is also a step toward making Highway 30 a statewide four-lane route – something many Highway 30 communities have been lobbying the Iowa DOT to do for decades. As more of Highway 30 becomes four lanes, it takes the pressure off busy Interstate 80, and shortens travel times between cities such as Cedar Rapids, Ames and Clinton.

Highway 30 gets busier every year, and is second only to the I-80 corridor for economic activity in the state, encompassing 17.9 percent of Iowa’s employment and 16 percent of all Iowa companies, according to the U.S. 30 Coalition, an advocacy group.

Whether growing to four lanes or a “super two” – one of the options being considered for one of the less busy stretches in Cedar County – we urge support for continued investment in expanding Highway 30. In particular, we need the completion of the $225 million, four-lane section from Tama to Highway 218 in Benton County.

The bypass project, which is still receiving finishing touches, will take some adjustment for businesses in Mount Vernon and Lisbon. They will see less traffic past the doors, meaning they may have to invest in highway services signs and other advertising to bring customers to their doors. Communities that have lost traffic to bypasses have even installed electronic message boards to remind motorists to visit their amenities.

Despite some negatives, the bypass will make these two beautiful communities safer and more relaxing places to live, while bringing the Corridor closer together.

Carson King continues to give

In this era of daily social media controversies, it’s hard for parents and even businesses to find the kind of good examples they want to share.

The Corridor saw one of the best examples last month when Altoona resident Carson King spoke to students at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids, about how he used social media to raise $3 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and addressed his own mistakes in social media at the age of 16.

Mr. King reminded Taft students that, as in his case, the pictures and messages they post on social media will still be out there 10 years later. He also advised them that everybody makes mistakes, and that acknowledging your own mistakes is important.

We continue to marvel at Mr. King’s example of compassion and goodwill, and look forward to the good that will come from it.