Waukon area residents, business owners learn more about improvement project for State Highways 9 and 76 through Waukon at open house informational meeting

Proposed plans for improvement to Highways 9 and 76 through Waukon unveiled to public at March 8 meeting ... The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted approximately 60 area residents and/or business owners at a Thursday evening, March 8 open house informational meeting held at the Waukon Wellness Center to discuss plans and answer questions in regard to the proposed street and sidewalk improvements project along and involving Iowa Highways 9 and 76 through the town of Waukon. Those in attendance, such as the city officials pictured in the foreground of the photo above, were able to look over aerial maps of the proposed project area (such as the one section of map printed below that shows an aerial view of the stoplight intersection in downtown Waukon and proposed sidewalk improvements defined by various colors in the accompanying map legend), along with the opportunity to talk with DOT officials about any further questions they may have. The project involves resurfacing and/or patching of the highways from their junction south of Waukon (near Bodensteiner Implement) north to the stoplight intersection in downtown Waukon, with improvements to Highway 9 continuing north along Allamakee Street past its intersection with 10th Avenue NW (entrance to Northgate) and improvements to Highway 76 continuing west from that stoplight intersection up West Main Street to its intersection with Ninth Street N/SW (the four-way stop sign intersection near Quillin's). Along with improvements to the roadway, improvements will also be made to sidewalks and curb ramps to make them handicap accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project will be done in segments throughout what DOT officials described as the "construction season," typically April through November, with traffic being able to be maintained during the project with single-lane traffic being guided by flaggers and a pilot car through the segmented work zones. Image below courtesy of the Iowa DOT. Photo above taken by The Standard Assistant Editor Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) held an informational meeting Thursday, March 8 at the Waukon Wellness Center to answer questions from the general public, residents and business owners that will be affected by the 2019 DOT street project involving two of the main thoroughfares entering and traveling through Waukon.

Field Service Coordinator Pete Hjelmstad, one of several DOT representatives in attendance at the event, provided answers on the specifics relating to the street project and the six project map displays illustrating, from an aerial perspective, the work to be done (such as the image below accompanying this article). The map displays were laid out on tables for those in attendance to view, with most of the colored markings on the map displays (explained further in the legend on each map) showing where sidewalk and curb work will be done in order to meet the project's overall objective.

The roadway improvement project will involve either resurfacing or patching, or a combination of the two, on State Highway 9 from its south junction with State Highway 76 (the intersection near Bodensteiner Implement) to just north of Tenth Avenue NW in Waukon (the entrance to the Northgate residential area), as well as State Highway 76 from its north junction with State Highway 9 (the stoplight intersection in downtown Waukon) to West Ninth Street in Waukon (the four-way stop sign intersection near Quillin's). This project will also include improvements to sidewalks and curb ramps making them compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards by improving handicap accessibility, with sidewalks being replaced and widened to meet the five-feet ADA requirement for width, where possible.

The project has a December 2018 letting date with construction scheduled to begin in 2019, which will likely involve an entire construction season of April through November, according to Hjelmstad. To help minimize disruption to traffic, the project will be completed in sections with one lane of traffic being maintained in the work zone guided by flaggers and a pilot car during the project.

The project is estimated to cost $1,827,900.00 with the DOT contributing $1,596,000.00 and the City of Waukon's contribution estimated at the remaining $231,900.00. Waukon City Manager Dean Hilgerson says the City's portion of the cost will come from local option sales tax funds and will be used to finance improvements to the parking areas on the streets as well as any curb replacement along the roadways being worked on.

Hilgerson further advised that the $231,900 estimate for the City's cost does not include new street lighting in the downtown area being planned in conjunction with the project, which would include new underground circuitry, new poles and new traffic signals. Hilgerson said a street light committee has been meeting and plans to report to the Waukon City Council in the near future to discuss options and cost estimates for that portion of the project.

When questioned about the tree removal that will be part of the project along West Main Street and Allamakee Street, Hjelmstad explained that the removal of trees along the project route is unfortunately necessary with tree roots being responsible for some cracking and upheaval of the existing sidewalks and even some curb and roadway areas. He also said that tree roots will be damaged during the excavation process of the project and will likely result in tree death within a year. In all, 33 trees were marked for removal on the DOT map displays presented at the meeting, with 23 of those being located in boulevards along West Main Street and 10 more being located in boulevards along Allamakee Street.

Following the March 8 informational meeting, Hjelmstad further shared with The Standard that a majority of the questions asked by the public at the March 8 meeting involved the timeline, start to finish, along with how or whether or not their property will be affected. Hjelmstad indicated that most of the residents and business owners were satisfied with the street plan as presented and that the hour-and-a-half event was well attended with over 60 individuals taking advantage of the opportunity to preview the project and ask any questions they may have in regard to it.

For anyone who was not able to attend the meeting or who has had further considerations arise following the meeting and would like to leave feedback regarding the project, the deadline for comments has been set at this coming Monday, March 19, with all correspondence received following that date also being included with the project files and being further reviewed as the project is developed. To submit a comment online about this project, go to http://bit.ly/iowadot1962. The aerial map displays used at the informational meeting can also be viewed online at: http://www.news.iowadot.gov/pim/.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet