South Duff Construction

Sam Stuve, Academics and Arts editor

Another apartment complex is being developed, in a city where there are a plethora of apartment complexes. However, one apartment complex plan is stirring up some controversy. Across from the Southdale neighborhood where Highway 69 turns into south duff, construction has begun on a new apartment complex called Brick Towne apartments. Along with Brick Towne being built, a turning lane will also added. However many residents of the southdale neighborhood, do not believe that adding a turning lane will not fix the problem that the intersection is already facing.


As someone who frequents that area of the city quite often, I certainly agree with what the public is saying about the development. If you are leaving the Southdale neighborhood, getting out can be very tricky. The biggest problem with the road in to that part of town, is the slow traffic that it causes. I would say that at least 10,000 cars come in and out of the city in that area, which causes it to be one of the busiest roads in the city. Because of the amount of cars that commute through that area, the amount of accidents are high. I believe that the Jewel Drive and South Duff intersection is the worst intersection in the city of Ames due to the amount accidents that occur (maybe find a statistic?).


Citizens gathered at New Life Church on Thursday, November 16th to gather information on the new development. After they met, there was one solution that was offered more than any other. The solution that the people of Ames have offered is to widen the road to five lanes, two northbound, two southbound, and one turning lane. While I agree that adding lanes would be effective, it is not going to make that much of a difference.


What would make a big difference is adding stop lights at the Jewel Drive and South Duff avenue intersection. This would decrease the risk of an accident happening there at any given moment. National statistics reveal that one-third of all intersection crashes in the United States occur at stop sign controlled intersections approximately 700,000 crashes annually. And more than 40% of fatal crashes that take place each year happen at stop sign intersections.


Meanwhile, According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intersection collisions lead to about 165,000 car accident fatalities each year. They may be the result of texting while driving, tailgating, speeding, or inexperience. Sometimes they are the result of a distracted or aggressive driver running a red light or a yellow light as it is about to turn red. The statistics show stop lights, while they have their faults, are much safer than stop lights.


It costs the taxpayer $250,000 to $500,000 to purchase and install a traffic signal, depending on the state you live in. Electric bills and routine maintenance amount to about $8,000 a year. Drivers also have increased costs for fuel, time delay, and accidents. This adds to the reasons for installing signals only where clearly justified. The average cost for building a apartment complex is $64,575 to $86,100 per unit.


The Brick Towne apartment complex is expected to have between 500 and 700 units.

Say the complex has 500 units and the cost to build a unit is $65,000. That would mean that the overall cost to build the complex would be $32.5 million to complete the complex and that is at the minimum in terms of units in the complex.


Where am I going with this you might ask? Well, what i’m trying to say is that the city has more of an emphasis on approving a plan to build more apartment complexes in a city that is full of apartment complexes rather than trying to improve the worst intersection and the most heavily trafficked intersection in Ames. Do I think that spending money on both projects are necessary? Yes I do. However, to ensure the safety of commuters in that intersection in south Ames, we should have added a stop light before approving the Brick Towne apartment complex.