DES MOINES, Iowa — A plan to renovate one of the major (and few) north/south thoroughfares in Des Moines is advancing through City Council.
The $17.5 million project would give an extensive, much-needed update to 2nd Ave. from University Ave. north to the Des Moines River. The work would touch nearly every part of the stretch of 4-lane road, beginning with the lanes themselves.
“They’re narrow and the curbs aren’t built up,” said Councilwoman-At-Large Connie Boesen. “It needs to be totally repaved.”
The stretch of road is strewn with active businesses and sees upwards of 20,000 vehicles per day.
“The utility poles are so close to the traffic, I’m surprised the street isn’t loaded with broken rearview mirrors,” joked Councilman-At-Large Carl Voss. “And this is the Central Business District — many heavy trucks use that road. It needs attention.”
The plan would also include the obligatory work to install the new, larger stormwater sewers, but would also take care of a few of the road’s more obvious, long-confounding problems.
Forest Ave. and Clark Street, which join 2nd Ave. at odd, disjointed intersections will be realigned. At Clark Street, this will be possible due to the acquisition of the former Planned Parenthood book-drop building and the imminent relocation of the bus station.
“Actually the bus station — I’ve had people say they need to get off of 2nd Ave. because people are having to carry their suitcases up the sidewalk to 6th Ave.,” said Boesen. “That’s where the DART bus stop is. That’s terribly inconvenient and it’s really not safe.”
The work is expected to begin next spring and could be completed by fall of 2026. The work will join the recently replaced 2nd Ave. bridge over the Des Moines River.