Iowa DOT Rest Area also a Native American Museum

One of the newest “next generation” highway rest areas built and maintained by the Iowa Department of Transportation also doubles as a museum of Native American culture.

[Above photo by the Iowa DOT]

In a blog post, the agency said each of its “next generation” rest areas features a specific “theme” to help travelers learn more about what makes Iowa unique.

Traveling northbound on Interstate 29 in western Iowa, the agency’s newest rest area is nestled near the Loess Hills just west of Glenwood and highlights the history of the Native American tribes of that area and how they are connected to what archaeologists call the “Central Plains Tradition.” 

In 1968, archeologists spent about four years uncovering 19 earth lodge homes in advance of the construction of U.S. 34. Those archaeologists also discovered that about 300 of these structures once dotted the landscape near modern-day Glenwood.

“What we did at the rest area was use the information from those excavations to tell the history of the area,” noted Brennan Dolan, cultural resource project manager for Iowa DOT’s District 2.

“It’s less about the artifacts that were uncovered, and more about the context they provide and the dynamic stories they tell about the people who lived here,” he added. “I think it’s really cool that 50 years after these excavations, we finally get to tell this story of this human experience through transportation and contemporary art.”

Inside and outside of the rest area, interpretive plaques, statues, and murals commissioned by four Native American artists describe the history of the Native American tribes that resided in the area. 

Iowa DOT added that this rest area – like all of its “next generation” models – is as “functional as it is beautiful,” offering free Wi-Fi and an observatory balcony at the rear of the building to give you a glimpse at the Loess Hills.

Archeological teams working for state departments of transportation across the country uncover and preserve a wide range of important historical finds.

In October 2022, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet helped establish a new website highlighting more than 100 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites across the state’s 64 counties.

In August 2022, archaeologists from the Maryland Department of Transportation helped excavate two small Colonial-era cabins near the historic Elkridge Furnace in Howard County, MD, located on land originally purchased for a highway project.

In January 2022, the Colorado Department of Transportation debuted a documentary called “Durango 550 – Path of the Ancestral Puebloans” to show how the agency worked with archaeologists and regional Native American tribes to document, study, and ultimately share the discoveries unearthed near Durango in southwest Colorado.

And in July 2023, the Washington Department of Transportation illustrated in a blog post the important connections between the sciences of archeology and transportation infrastructure construction.

NCDOT Supports Launch of Multimodal Charging Hub

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is helping support the launch of the state’s first electric aircraft charging hub in early 2024 at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford; a hub designed to be “multimodal” so it can charge not only electric aircraft but electric cars and trucks as well.

[Above photo by NCDOT]

BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company, will install the two multimodal charging stations to serve electric aircraft and ground electric vehicles. The site will include a Level-3 fast-charge Charge Cube, which will charge electric aircraft in under an hour, and an accompanying Charge Center where aircraft crew can rest.

Those new chargers in North Carolina will be part of a growing national network of charging stations BETA is building to enable electric flight. The company has also developed electric aircraft capable of moving passengers and cargo more efficiently and with fewer environmental impacts.

The groundbreaking event featured one of those aircraft, BETA’s ALIA conventional takeoff and landing electric aircraft. The plane originated at BETA’s headquarters in Burlington, VT, and stopped in North Carolina during its 1,500-mile flight down the East Coast – an aeronautical tour coordinated by the U.S. Air Force’s research arm, known as AFWERX.

NCDOT noted in a statement that the Raleigh Executive Jetport site will also include a Level 2 car charger, which will be installed in the airport’s parking lot. The project required a significant expansion of the airport’s apron, where the charging stations will be located. The NCDOT funded the expansion of the apron, which was recently completed and is now ready for additional construction.

The agency noted that electrification is a key component of the state’s “Advance Mobility NC” strategic plan, which leverages NCDOT’s work to create a multimodal transportation system that improves the mobility of people and freight.

Environmental News Highlights – November 1, 2023


AASHTO Backs Preserving State/Local Authority on AVs -AASHTO Journal

Big federal dollars for small state projects aim to get more cars off the roads -Missouri Independent

Legacy programs stymie Biden’s efforts to boost equity in infrastructure spending -Route Fifty

Q&A with Susan Handy, Director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC Davis –Sactown

Readout of the Environmental Permitting Technology and Data Summit -White House (media release)

National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Progress UpdateJoint Office of Energy and Transportation (media release)


The work commute changed after the pandemic, new data shows -State Smart Transportation Initiative



Unlocking New Mexico’s energy potential: The imperative of NEPA reform -Las Cruces Sun News (opinion)



Rubber hits the road at tire recycling event -Jefferson City News Tribune

Geothermal technology is now being used at Louisville Airport -WLKY-TV

How to Prevent Forest Fires by Building Cities With More Wood –Bloomberg

White House opens $45 billion in federal funds to developers to covert offices to homes -Dow Jones


EPA to Increase Air Monitoring at Marine Ports -National Law Review (contributed content)

California meets its target for zero-emissions truck sales two years ahead of schedule -California Air Resources Board (media release)



Nevada shows commitment to getting desert wildlife across the road safely -Las Vegas Sun

How New York City Turned the World’s Biggest Garbage Dump Into a Park –Bloomberg

Humans mimicking beavers to combat wildfires and restore wetlands -Wildfire Today

Idaho Adopt-A-Highway Removes 3 Million Pounds Of Litter, Saves $25 Million In Labor -Idaho Transportation Department (media release)



How Transportation Improves Quality of Life -Talking Michigan Transportation (podcast)

Delmont, PA council approves transportation plan aimed at improving pedestrian, bike infrastructure -Murrysville Star

Multiple Bay Area Programs Aim to Expand Access to E-Bikes -Government Technology

How a century-old rail agreement slowed a Seattle bike lane project -Seattle Times

As e-bikes grow in popularity, so do calls for safety certification –Grist

Need to find a bike rack in Atlanta? There’s an app for that -WAGA-TV

Boulder installs protected bike lane infrastructure new to the US -City of Boulder (media release)



Webinar: Accommodating Utilities in Highway and Freeway Right-of-Way -AASHTO and NCHRP

Webinar: Mitigating Air Pollution Exposures from Transportation –TRB

Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States –TRB

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Performance Functions –TCHRP

Is Federal Infrastructure Investment Advancing Equity Goals? -Urban Institute



Transportation and Climate Division (TCD) Grant Program Reporting Templates: Supplemental Project Application Template and Project Reporting Templates for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), Clean School Bus (CSB), Clean Heavy Duty (CHD), and Clean Ports Grant Programs; EPA ICR No. 2793.01, OMB Control No. 2060–NEW -EPA (Notice)

Revising Scope of the Mining Sector of Projects That Are Eligible for Coverage Under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act -Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Extension of comment period)

Federal Management Regulation; Designation of Authority and Sustainable Siting –GSA

Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Charter Renewal -FRA (Announcement)

Public Meeting of the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee -Geological Survey (Notice)