Road Construction Projects Mostly Back on Schedule After Slow, Rainy Start

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Construction season got off to a late start after a wet spring but now things are rolling right along.

The Iowa Department of Transportation said about $600 million worth of projects are slated for this year. Construction is underway just about everywhere, from Dubuque to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

Construction season is about halfway over, which mean crews are working quickly to get highway and interstate projects done on time.

"Right now we are seeing actually very good weather for construction; they don't mind cooler temperatures in July," said Iowa DOT's Cathy Cutler.

Still, the road work can cause some grumpy drivers.

"If they fix it right the first time, it would be nice -- you know, these streets of glass that we ride on," said Truck Driver Steve Chandler.

The Iowa DOT said some much-needed repairs are right on schedule on I-380 through Cedar Rapids.

"This is the first real facelift since it was built, really, between '81 and '83," Cutler said.

It's part of a three-year, $34.3 million project to resurface the interstate and replace bridge railings. This year, crews are focusing on re-surfacing the southbound lanes. If you haven't noticed, it's probably because all the work is getting done at night.

"It's really not a matter of efficiency, but of safety. Really, we pay extra for nighttime work because they have to mobilize, obviously, they have to set up lights so they can see their work," Cutler said.

It's a bit of a bumpy ride now, but the DOT expects this summer's portion of asphalt resurfacing work will wrap up at the end of August. Wayne Anderson who lives north of town says he's already noticing the changes.

"You just go whistling along and you have to worry about your speed limit because you don't even notice it," said Wayne Anderson.

In Iowa City, however, the Dubuque Street interchange is behind schedule, due to busy contractors. The Iowa DOT said it might be a bit of a mess for the first home football game.

"We're hoping to be fully done by the week later, as the second home football game. So, we're hoping to be out of there by then," Cutler said.

Crews are working on that Dubuque Street interchange to add signals and modernize the intersection. The DOT said officers would be able to better manage the flow of traffic on game days, by controlling the signals to keep cars moving along.
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