IN TH FIRST: New gas station, roundabout coming to Dubuque

DUBUQUE, Iowa — City of Dubuque officials plan to add a roundabout to Kerper Boulevard in the next two years to accommodate increased traffic expected to follow the construction of a new gas station.

City Council members this week unanimously approved an agreement with Kwik Trip Inc. to split the cost of the $1.5 million roundabout at the intersection of Kerper Boulevard and Kerper Court.

The new station will be built near the intersection and include a convenience store and gas station for both car and truck fueling and semi-tractor trailer fueling. The company’s contribution to the nearby roundabout will not exceed $750,000.

“I think it’s a nice amenity for our community and for the neighborhood, and I think it’ll do very well with the location being right there on the highway,” 3rd Ward City Council Member Danny Sprank said of the new gas station after the council’s vote. “… And it might be a start, or possibly a catalyst for more things to go on Kerper.”

Officials from Kwik Trip said Wednesday that they did not yet have any information to release about the project or anticipated staffing numbers. Council documents state that the company is in the process of purchasing the land for the store, which will be its third in Dubuque.

The station and affiliated roundabout are set to be built by the end of 2024, but City Engineer Gus Psihoyos said that timeline could be expedited if everything goes smoothly. Other planned improvements in the area include additional lighting and sidewalks near the store and intersection.

The need for a roundabout was identified in a traffic study the city required from Kwik Trip. City officials prefer roundabouts to electronic traffic signals for several reasons, such as ease of maintenance and decreased likelihood of broadside crashes, council documents state.

The roundabout also will ease existing traffic pressures, Psihoyos added.

“When it gets done, the traffic will be able to move smoothly through there,” he said. “There’s times of the day even now where things get kind of congested … and I think (the roundabout) will eliminate that.”

While there are other gas stations in that area, Sprank said he believes the Kwik Trip location still will be an asset, especially when it comes to addressing food insecurity. The store will be located in the 3rd Ward, which sits partially within a U.S. Department of Agriculture-identified food desert.

Sprank pointed to the Kwik Trip-owned Kwik Star on Dodge Street, which has a small grocery-style section in addition to traditional convenience store offerings, as an example of how the new station could be a potential boon to the area.

“Our neighborhood needs more grocery options,” he said. “Usually, (Kwik Trip) stores have more amenities, … so it could maybe turn into a second grocery store for the area.”