By John Butters, The JOURNAL
The Iowa Department of Transportation has scheduled an $8 million bridge replacement project on Highway 1 between Washington and Kalona to begin in 2020.
The project would replace two bridges, eliminate one bridge and install improved culverts under the highway in a fourth location. Though the streams being bridged are small, engineers estimate the project could close that portion of the highway for 9 months.
Representatives from the DOT conducted a public meeting Tuesday in Kalona to reveal details of the plan. At the sparsely attended meeting, transportation officials displayed maps of the project and said most motorists would probably use Highway 218 to travel north or south between the two communities during construction. For travelers passing through the area, detour signs will likely be placed at Highway 22 in Kalona and at various locations in Washington that would direct them to 218.
Marty Sankey, the Right of Way engineer for the job, said the work is needed due to the age and condition of the bridges. ?It?s the structural conditions of the bridge that make this project necessary,? he said.
The plan calls for construction of a $3.6 million bridge at Old Man?s Creek and a $2 million bridge at Old Woman?s Creek. At the Old Man?s Creek Overflow, a $1.39 million project will remove the existing bridge and replace it with new culverts. A natural stream that flows beneath the highway will have existing culverts replaced with larger, more modern designs.
?It?s a lot of projects in a row, but we think the impact on the public will be less if we do them all at once,? Sankey said.
Sankey said the high cost of the project is due, in part, to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources requirements for bridge and culvert replacements. ?We will be lengthening both bridges to improve stream flow. The DNR standards have changed over the years, and we have to include engineering that will handle stormwater runoff,? he said.
Similar work would be needed for the culvert replacements, he said. ?Our plan is to begin the project late in 2019 and then close the highway after school lets out in 2020,? Sankey said. ?We plan to reopen the highway when school starts.?
The DOT would work to accommodate people living along that stretch of the highway, he said.