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Linn County Supervisors Talk 151 Detour, Damage Cleanup

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FAIRFAX, Iowa — Drivers trying to get between Fairfax and Cedar Rapids will soon get some minor relief after storms this week closed Highway 151.

The Linn County Secondary Roads Department will mark off a shorter detour to get around the bridge closure in Fairfax. Without that detour, the alternate route would take drivers all the way south to Interstate 80, east to I-380 and north to Cedar Rapids, a detour of roughly 50 miles.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is fast-tracking repairs to Highway 151. Storms on Monday punched a hole in the roadway leading up to a bridge over a drainage ditch, forcing the road to close. The Iowa DOT anticipates being to reopen the road as early as next week.

In hard-hit Toddville, the supervisors directed the county’s Secondary Roads Department crews to conduct a special pickup of debris in Toddville and elsewhere in Monroe Township July 21-July 25.

Ben Merta, secondary roads operations superintendent, told the supervisors that county road crews had between 800 and 1,000 road locations that needed attention because of the storms.

He and the supervisors settled on the July 21-25 period to do the work.

County inspectors will hand out cards that will allow residents in unincorporated Linn County and in jurisdictions that use the county’s planning services to take a load of debris to one of the two Solid Waste Agency landfills free of charge.

The supervisors also said they will make a debris pickup in Viola where residents have begun to deposit storm debris on school property.

In addition, the supervisors discussed and decided against postponing a road construction project on Wright Brothers Boulevard, slated to begin Monday, until a flood-damaged bridge at nearby Fairfax is rebuilt. Fairfax city officials had asked for the delay in the Wright Brothers Boulevard work.

However, the supervisors said county officials had developed a new, shorter detour around both the bridge damage and road project that they thought Fairfax city officials would be willing to live with. Stopping the Wright Brothers Boulevard project would cost extra money and likely cause the work to conflict with the start of school, the supervisors said.

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