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Turning for progress

Grant awarded for Fifth Avenue South project

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A truck stops at the guard shack at the Nestle Purina PetCare plant at 2400 Fifth Ave. S. Tuesday evening. A newly awarded state grant will pay most of the costs for building a new right turn lane into the plant. The turn lane is considered necessary to handle the expected increase in traffic to the plant once an expansion project is completed.

Potential traffic bottlenecks on Fifth Avenue South in front of the growing Nestle Purina PetCare plant would be reduced by the presence of a new turning lane.

The Iowa Transportation Commission on Tuesday awarded a $344,450 grant for the construction of the lane, which will enable westbound traffic to turn right into the facility at 2400 Fifth Ave. S.

That grant will cover 80 percent of the estimated $435,563 cost of creating the turning lane.

The Webster County Board of Supervisors has committed to providing the remaining 20 percent of the needed money.

The plant makes canned cat food.

In February, it was announced that the company would invest $175 million in the facility to add a new product line.

The project will include an 80,000-square-foot building expansion.

It will create 50 net new jobs with starting wages ranging from $27 to $30 per hour.

“With their addition, there will be more employees and more truck traffic, which makes it necessary to get the additional turning lane,” said Vickie Reeck, the city’s community and economic development manager.

She said the new turning lane will reduce the risk of vehicles being struck from behind as they attempt to turn into the plant.

In April, the City Council hired Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, to design that turning lane at a cost of $99,850. Reeck said construction of it will begin next spring.

She said contractors hired by Nestle Purina PetCare have started some “ground work” for the building expansion.

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