Pink X's Mark Start of 2.5 Year Construction Project on Dubuque Street in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9)- Pink X's on trees along Dubuque Street in Iowa City are a sign that the $52 million, largest capital project in city history, is about to get underway. Crews will raise the road above the 100 year flood plain from the Park Road bridge to just beyond Taft Speedway.

Roughly 300 trees have been marked for removal, which will be completed this month. Officials will break ground on the project this construction season, according to Public Works Director Ron Knoche.

Knoche said he's not aware of complaints about the massive tree removal necessary to complete the project. Some trees will be saved but many have to be removed, Knoche said.

The project isn't expected to be completed until 2018. Starting in May the roadway will be reduced to two-lane head-to-head traffic. Knoche said drivers will need to be patient throughout the next 2.5 years, but that there's "light at the end of the tunnel."

Dubuque Street, much of which runs along the Iowa River, often floods during flash flooding events. It also was closed for weeks during floods in 1993, 2008, 2013 and 2014.