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1/31/2024

Why does the DOT need 12 cranes, some next to each other, for the east mix project?

We posed this question to the Iowa DOT, and District Construction Engineer Scott Nixon responded. 

“The contractor is getting ready to receive the steel girders for the section of the new flyover that will span both directions of I-235. When the contractor handles these steel girders, which are 9 feet tall in that section, they need multiple cranes due to the length and the weight of the girders. When setting girders, they typically need two cranes for the girders, and at least one additional crane to lift the man baskets and scaffolding needed to bolt the girders together in the air,” said Nixon. 

He added, “Rather than moving these sets of cranes from one side of the interstate to the other when setting the girders in sequence, the contractor has multiple cranes in multiple locations to speed up the process.”

 

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Why is there little gas price competition, except in southeast Ankeny?

Gas prices are affected for a number of reasons. The price of oil, the cost of transportation, the location of the store and gasoline tax are the main factors, with the first being the most important. “More than half the cost of filling your tank is influenced by the price of crude oil,” per the Department of Energy. What it comes down to is competition. 

Gas stations are willing to take a hit on their gas prices because a majority of their profits are made inside the store, not at the pump. According to energy5.com, “generally, fuel sales result in a profit margin of only a few cents per gallon, while the profits from selling snacks or other goodies can be much higher.” Meaning, it’s likely the large number of gas stations in the heavily populated parts of Ankeny account for the lower price of gas.  

 

What’s the most snow Des Moines has received in one week?

Iowa was hammered with snowfall the week of Jan. 8-12. According to the National Weather Service of Des Moines, the Des Moines airport recorded 22.3 inches of snow, 12.4 inches from Jan. 8-10, and 9.9 inches from Jan. 11-12. That places the week’s snowfall at second all-time on record for a five-day total, just .4 inches short of the record.

The three highest ranking weeks in terms of total snowfall in Des Moines history are now: 22.7 inches from Dec. 28, 1941, to Jan. 1, 1942; 22.3 inches from Jan. 8-12, 2024, and 20.2 inches from March 14-18, 1923.

When it comes to cold temperatures in general, heavy snow doesn’t always mean deadly cold. However, the blizzard warning that was issued for most of Iowa originally predicted sub-zero temperatures from Jan. 12 to Jan. 15. The record longest stretch of below-zero air temp is 132 hours, from 1 a.m. on Jan. 30 to 12 p.m. on Feb. 4, 1996. If you were curious, the coldest day in Iowa occurred in Washta on Jan. 12 when it reached a frigid -47F.  

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