by Jacob Lane · December 18, 2013
It's finally done! After seven months of inconvenience, the popular commute to work is finally back to normal.
Bridge construction on Highway 6, over the Wapsipinicon Creek, was completed last week. The popular route between West Liberty and Iowa City has opened up for daily use.
Work had been expedited due to possible bad weather, including snow. A good decision, considering West Liberty received nearly three inches of snow the day the western route opened.
The bridge was originally closed on June 1 for a number of reasons by the Iowa Department of Transportation. It was becoming old and outdated. Basic repairs were needed for possible drainage issues as well.
As with any bridge, serious upkeep is needed to keep it functioning and safe.
The bridge closing caused a bit of an ordeal late summer in West Liberty. Traffic volume increased on Prairie Street when the Iowa DOT placed a detour around the bridge.
Rather than take a suggested detour onto Interstate 80, many motorists opted to use Prairie Street as a direct route into West Liberty.
In response, the city had an increase in motorists breaking the speed limit as they came into town. At one point the council considered a speed camera to help curb the problem.
The possible controversy brought in news outlets and TV stations from around the area. However, nothing came of it. The council decided not to move forward with the camera.
After the West Liberty police and the State Highway Patrol began checking speeds more frequently, fewer problems were found.
The Index previously reported that Mark Brandl, a Davenport resident construction engineer for the Iowa DOT, said the bridge could be open as soon as the first week of December.
"They [contractors] have every desire to complete the project this year," Brandl said about the Prime Contractor Godbersen-Smith Construction, "They've expressed that."
Now that the bridge has been completed, the morning commute can flow through town once again.