How Ulteig is Turning Our Understanding of Funding Into Success for Our Clients

December 7, 2022

During any given highway construction project, multiple factors play into funding and eventual success. With a proper budget, county and state highway projects comprehensively address various improvements including safety concerns, new construction for the continued infrastructure improvements and economic development – resulting in new employment opportunities and growing tax base for the State and County.

Receiving the proper funding for a project is often one of the most challenging aspects for city, county and state governments. Annual budgets cover a portion of major upgrades and projects, though local governments are usually constrained with how much they are allotted and have access to. With this in mind, funding for highway projects requires aid from taxpayer dollars or various grants. These grant funds may come from local, state and federal programs with specific rules and regulations.

To source the appropriate funds, we can leverage our experience and strategic planning expertise to secure grants that are beneficial for our clients and the project’s success. Our strategic approach to find and secure project funding starts by identifying project costs and outlining the goals and timeline of the infrastructure upgrade.

Collaboration with multiple project managers and developers is essential throughout the entire process. Understanding our clients’ needs and goals helps us craft a strategy that will secure the maximum amount of funding possible. A strategic, competitive application begins with a shared understanding of a project’s goals and a plan that will utilize every dollar awarded. Communication with all project stakeholders is monumental in achieving a funding plan that not only works, but can be administered by the client.

Fund Execution at its Finest

This strategy was executed successfully when the Iowa Department of Transportation partnered with Buena Vista County, the regional planning authority, and Ulteig to secure a $3.3 million RISE grant. The grant will aid in the funding of a major highway interchange upgrade and new transportation improvements in Buena Vista County, Iowa.

Rick Allely, Ulteig’s Market Development Manager, led the charge to help secure the RISE Grant on behalf of the Iowa DOT.

“It was truly a collaborative effort,” Allely said. “Everybody had a hand in its success. These projects are a perfect illustration of how good communication and teamwork can result in providing a positive return in investment for all stakeholders.”

Equipped with a $3.3 million RISE grant, the Iowa DOT has partnered with Buena Vista County and Ulteig to address 4.5 miles of paved road and safety concerns at two state interchanges and railroad crossings. These transportation upgrades will facilitate the Platinum Crush soy oil facility build, as trucks and logistics will have better access to the area and can transport product and raw material in and out more easily. By aligning the construction of the plant with the transportation improvements, regional agricultural producers will see improved accessibility and new market opportunities, which will directly benefit the local economy. The investment and new jobs will provide economic growth in the entire region of Northwest Iowa.

Achieving Strategic Success

Allely was able to play a strategic role in coordinating the grant by collaborating with the DOT, regional planning authority and the county to come up with the right strategy. By guiding the discussions and asking the right questions, our team was able to understand the goals of the project and the scope of work.

Allely noted how even the timing of the application was deliberate. The Request for Public Assistance (RPA)’s application submission aligned with Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant funding availability, which enabled the Iowa DOT to make the sizeable award to Buena Vista County.

The RISE grant is a program designed for the purpose of transportation improvements that will leverage local employment growth and industrial investment in Iowa. We identified an opportunity for this grant to be applied to this project, and as a result, it will leverage over 50 high-paying jobs, and will improve a significant portion of state highway and local county infrastructure.

With $3.3 million in grant funds to work with, Allely noted how they will be able to use that money for the actual improvement of the roads. The RISE grant is just one source of funding for the project. Buena Vista County can complete the project on time with the help of other essential resources and local funding sources.

Collaboration For Future Improvements

The entire scope of the project is large and multi-faceted, and we will be able to complete each component in-house.

  • Starting with in-house surveying for our first and biggest transportation study in Iowa, we have an opportunity to see the project through multiple stages of the project.
  • Ulteig will perform the design, grading and construction of the highway, as well as roadway design and right-of-way work.
  • We are conducting wetland and environmental work around the area due to nearby state-protected marshland. Environmental impact studies will be conducted to ensure the marshland maintains its integrity and protection, throughout and after the project. This will also include work done on two triple box culvert structures in the area, led by Michael Campion, PE, Ulteig’s Technical Manager, alongside his environmental team and surveyors.
  • Finally, we will take the lead on the design and construction of railroad signals and crossarms at two state interchanges along the highway. This will help ensure safety at those crossings for residents as well as the agricultural and industrial presence in the region.

By providing comprehensive in-house services, we foresee the finalization of the highway redesign and upgrade to be completed in the early fall of 2024.

Positive Project Impacts

By working closely with different key members of the Iowa DOT, Buena Vista County and other regional planners and engineers, we have begun a robust relationship that will hopefully extend far into the future. “This project opens the door for Ulteig to continue our growth and related transportation services throughout Iowa,” said Allely.

Alongside the immediate benefits to local agricultural producers and area businesses, an improved market for agriculture and logistical transportation will be achieved. Furthermore, we will ensure optimal safety features surrounding the railroad crossings, culverts, road design and the state-protected marshland for long-term benefits and protection.

Investing In Long-Term Benefits

The details at every stage of a project drive long-term success.  At Ulteig, we have developed strategies and expertise to ensure our clients’ long-term benefits and success are achieved. Taking the time to understand the whole scale of a project, including necessary funding and ancillary requirements, round out the timeline, costs and effectiveness of the work.

With this in mind, we are proud to partner with the Iowa DOT and Buena Vista County to enhance the quality of life, economic vitality and agricultural production in the region.

  • Environmental Planning & Services, Transportation Planning & Design

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