Bridge construction over the Wapsinonoc River west of town is nearing completion, a happy revelation for commuters between Iowa City and West Liberty.
According to Mark Brandl, a Davenport resident construction engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the bridge on Highway 6 could be open by the first week of December.
Work has been expedited due to possible bad weather that will soon be approaching. This means the contractor and sub-contractors are paid to work weekends if they choose to do so.
"They have every desire to complete the project this year," Brandl said about the Prime Contractor Godbersen-Smtih Construction, "They've expressed that."
The dirt and grading sub-contractor has chosen to work Saturdays, as well as various other sub-contractors. Road construction generally halts in November due to the cold snowy season, but the bridge will be completed without stopping.
According to Brandl the prime contractor is running a little behind its personal schedule of Nov. 15, but it's running ahead of the Iowa DOT's schedule.
"We had a really tight schedule for the contractor," he said. "For the most part, the date we projected had high hopes."
The bridge was originally closed by the Iowa DOT on June 1 for a number of reasons, including age. It had become outdated and needed to be upgraded.
There were also basic repairs needed and possible drainage issues. As with any bridge, serious upkeep is needed to keep it functioning and safe.
Traffic volume increased on Prairie Street when the Iowa DOT placed a detour around the bridge. Rather than take the suggested detour onto Interstate 80, many motorists opted to use Prairie Street as a direct route into West Liberty.
The increase in traffic caused an increase in speeding violations. However, with the bridge nearing completion the accustomed flow between the two cities will be restored.
Bridge is nearly completeJacob Lane · Wednesday, October 30, 2013