Dangerous Intersection Construction Proposition Threatens Farm

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Mingo farmer Larry Cleverley has been a fixture at the farmers' market in Des Moines for 19 years, but his future is a little less clear.

Cleverley's organic produce farm sits on a one-mile stretch of road between two intersections, which together have seen 101 crashes and seven deaths since 2004, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (I-DOT).

After years of public meetings, I-DOT decided last week to proceed with one of several solutions, which would replace the two intersections with a single diamond interchange.

Cleverley say the project would take 90 acres of his farm, along with all of his buildings and five nearby houses, including his own.

He says, "When I look at that map of the diamond interchange that they have drawn up, it's almost like they sat at their engineering tables in Ames and said, 'How can we build an interchange that will run a road through every piece of property that the Cleverley family has?' And by god, that's what they've done. I mean, even a 12 acre field a mile and a half north of the intersection in question, they're running the new 65 in the middle of that."

Before the plan can proceed, I-DOT will need to purchase the right of way to start construction. Currently that's budgeted at $1.5 million in 2016. The total budget sits at around $15 million for the diamond interchange.

Cleverley plans to continue his efforts to keep his farm, and intends to take his issue to the statehouse.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.