Study will attempt to show value of new I-29 exit south of Sioux City

2013-03-12T19:30:00Z 2014-09-30T09:09:03Z Study will attempt to show value of new I-29 exit south of Sioux CityBRET HAYWORTH Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | Five local entities are preparing to split most of the $400,000 cost to research building a new Interstate 29 exit south of Sioux City to boost economic development.

The cities of Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff and Salix, along with Woodbury County and an arm of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, want a new exit to serve Sioux City's Southbridge Industrial Park and the county-proposed Liberty Industrial Park. Southbridge has been in development for several years on city-owned property south of Sioux Gateway Airport, and the county wants to develop Liberty on private land across the freeway.

Plans to ask the Iowa Department of Transportation for a new exit, estimated to cost $20 million, collapsed last summer when local officials couldn't agree on whether to ask IDOT to rebuild the aging Port Neal industrial area interchange or build a new one farther north. 

The announcement late last year that CF Industries will undertake a record $1.7 billion expansion of its Port Neal fertilizer plant seems to have revived hopes for a new exit, County Board member George Boykin said Tuesday.

The exit could be built between mile markers 140 and 138, but IDOT needs a study before it decides whether to build.

In a cost-sharing proposal based on population and property value, the Woodbury County Board on Tuesday voted to pay $120,600 toward the study. The Sioux City Council is expected to act Monday on whether to pay  $114,258.

The Salix City Council on March 6 approved paying $503 for the study, city clerk Barb Parker confirmed. The Sergeant Bluff City Council approved a $5,839 expenditure with a 5-0 vote Tuesday night.

Sergeant Bluff Mayor Dale Petersen said after the meeting that a new interchange would make the area more accessible to businesses.

"I think it's just the best thing we could do as far as economic development," he said. "It opens up the entire region to development there."

The Siouxland Initiative, the chamber's development arm, would contribute $26,800, and IDOT is being asked to pitch in $132,000.

County Board member Jackie Smith said the cost-sharing details will likely later be updated by a more formal agreement from IDOT. Board members said the study could be completed in the next 12 to 24 months.

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