Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
December 12, 2003

Knoll Road/Union Drive realignment work to begin in March

by Anne Krapfl
A plan to realign Knoll Road with Union Drive and develop a stronger south entrance to central campus will temporarily close parts of those roads this spring and summer. The area affected is where the two intersect east of the Memorial Union.

The realignment involves curving Knoll Road to the northwest and merging it into Union Drive. The work will include moving and replacing the Knoll Road bridge over College Creek and building a retaining wall along the east exit of the Memorial Union parking ramp. The project has a five-month timeline.

Phased work
The work will be done in phases.
  • Knoll Road between Lincoln Way and Union Drive will be closed and reconfigured from early March to July 15.
  • The section of Union Drive immediately east of the Memorial Union will be closed from the Monday following Veishea weekend (April 19) until mid-August.
  • The east exit of the Memorial Union parking ramp will be closed from early March to mid-July. The south (Lincoln Way) entrance to the ramp will be the only entrance to the parking ramp during this time; the north entrance will serve as the temporary exit from the ramp.
Those planning events at the Memorial Union this spring and summer are encouraged to advise their guests of the road closures and alternate north exit from the parking ramp. The new intersection, which will be about 200 feet south and west of the existing intersection, will feature the seemingly continuous Knoll Road/ Union Drive. The goal is to complete all work before classes begin next fall.

Bigger picture
Iowa State's 1991 campus master plan identifies the need for a stronger south entrance to campus, recognizing that most people arrive via Elwood Drive and Lincoln Way. According to the master plan, the entrance should lead visitors to the front of the Memorial Union, provide a sense of "arrival" and direct them to the parking ramp where they can park their vehicles.

Visitors arriving from the west would enter on Welch Avenue, drive past Lake Laverne and arrive at the front of the Memorial Union near the campanile. Visitors arriving from the east would enter on Knoll Road and proceed to this same area. Signs on Lincoln Way would advise motorists where to turn.

When the project is complete, traffic on all of Union Drive will be two-way, including the portion in front of the Memorial Union.

Several factors contributed to campus planners developing this project now (planning began about 18 months ago):
  • The deteriorating condition of the Union Drive pavement and the bridge over College Creek.
  • A desire to improve pedestrian safety at this intersection, particularly with the opening next month of the Gerdin Business Building northwest of this intersection and the additional foot traffic it will create.M
The Knoll Road bridge over College Creek, north of the president's residence, dates to the 1870s. The design of the replacement bridge incorporates some of the character of the original structure.

The entire project will cost $1.79 million. Funds come from the Institutional Roads Program, administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State.


... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2003, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.