DOT holds open forum about Highway 25 bridge work

By: 
CAITLIN WARE

The Iowa Department of Transportation hosted a public meeting to discuss upcoming Adair County bridge replacements. 

The Sept. 6 open forum style meeting, held at the 5 by 80 Golf and Country Club in Menlo, was designed to give local residents a chance to find information and ask questions about the construction set to occur on two bridges located on Highway 25 between Interstate 80 and Greenfield. 

Both the Middle River Bridge — located 1.2 miles south of I-80 — and the Turkey Creek Bridge — 4.6 miles south of I-80 — have been deemed functionally obsolete. The term does not mean that either structure is unsafe or deficient. Rather, it is handed out to bridges whose lanes or shoulders are too narrow, or whose vertical clearances are not high enough.

Currently, the Middle River Bridge is only 26 feet wide. The new replacement will increase its width to 40 feet, allowing for a wider shoulder area. It will remain a two lane bridge, but will be raised about two feet, in addition to other work on the bridge surface itself. The estimated cost of the project is $1.9 million. 

The Turkey Creek Bridge is also 26 feet wide, and will be expanded to 40 feet. The additional space will be used for a larger shoulder. 

The official letting date, when the projects will open for bids, is Dec. 19, 2017. However, construction is not expected to begin until the late spring or summer of 2018, depending on which contractors’ bids are accepted.  

During construction, the official proposed detour around the Highway 25 work from the north is to take I-80 over to P-28 (Stuart Road) south to Highway 92 then west to Greenfield. Traffic from the south would go in reverse, east on 92 at Greenfield, north on P-28, west on I-80.

The route tacks on about 14 miles each way per trip. 

The official route stays only on paved roads. Those with a knowledge of back roads, and willingness to travel on gravel, will be able to avoid the detour and reach their destinations faster, said Assistant District Engineer Don Stevens.

“We try to keep our detours on good quality roads,” Stevens said. “Our highway’s paved, so we don’t like to throw (drivers) on gravel.” 

In addition to residents, local firefighters, police and other emergency response entities were encouraged to attend the public meeting. That way, they have a considerable amount of time to factor the detour into their work and prepare a plan for how to reach properties near the future construction sites.  

“That’s why we invite them to these meetings, so they have a heads up,” said Scott Suhr, district transportation planner for the Iowa DOT. “Really, after it’s closed for a couple days, people will figure out their own routes.” 

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