Over the last year, Sioux City has enjoyed a number of successes and milestones in a range of categories. Our housing inventory has remained strong, with several single-family homes, multifamily units, and apartment complexes added, with several of them located in downtown. We saw new businesses come to our community and current businesses expand.
We experienced a boom in youth athletics and are poised for continued growth of our parks and trail systems. I am proud of what we have accomplished in 2022 and I’m looking forward to what will come in 2023. However, there are a couple of projects on the horizon that certainly have my attention.
Discussions regarding rebuilding and replacing the Gordon Drive viaduct are top of mind. This project has my attention because it is a once in a lifetime decision and I want to make sure that we get it right. The viaduct was built in 1930’s and widened in the 1960’s and has dramatically outlived its life expectancy. The need to replace it is critical. More than twenty thousand vehicles traverse the viaduct everyday connecting our city and multiple businesses on either end that will be greatly impacted. As far as I am concerned, this will be a multifaceted decision.
There are many ways that we can replace and rebuild:
- Do we close the viaduct altogether and rebuild it in its same footprint?
- Do we close one of the lanes and build the new structure next to the existing?
- What do we do with the on ramps and connectivity to it?
- Should we have an intersection connecting it to Cunningham to grow that area and allow easier access to the intersectionSeaboard Triumph Expo Center?
This project, coupled with the Bacon Creek conduit originally constructed in 1909 underneath Gordon Drive, is going to have a price tag of more than $30 million, and will be a construction project that will take years to complete. It is a big decision and I want to make sure that we take all of these things into account.
Secondly, the city council hired a consulting firm to weigh our options on how best to expand our wastewater treatment plant. Similar to the viaduct, we have an aging facility that is in need of updating. Our current plant has been updated through the years, but in order to grow our city and support future industrial expansion we needed to determine whether we should build an entirely new structure or rebuild portions and expand the current facility.
After reviewing estimates and comparing facilities across the state, it was determined that rebuilding and expanding the current site is the best course of action. However, this project is also going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. This is another project that impacts everyone in our community – citizens and businesses.
While there are a number of other significant projects that are going to be completed in 2023 – the Riverfront, the Badgerow building, the Benson building, more trail expansion, and others – it is these multi-year projects that have me thinking about what our city will look like in the next five years, 25 years, and beyond.
By Alex Watters