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Resurfacing of U.S. Hwy. 218 Bridge Adds Traffic Light at 4th and Commercial

An Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) construction project has doubled the number of traffic lights in La Porte City. And the bad news for area drivers is that they won’t be going away anytime soon.

On Wednesday, October 9, road construction crews began laying cones, prepping the area from the bridge that spans Wolf Creek near Casey’s to the intersection of 4th and Commercial, which is now controlled by traffic lights instead of four-way stop signs. The change in traffic signals proved to be confusing for some drivers, who evidently ignored the traffic light and proceeded through the intersection as though it was still controlled by a four-way stop. This prompted construction crews to express their concerns about the safety of the intersection, which will remain controlled by traffic light for several months while DOT crews resurface the bridge and the approaches leading up to it.

Ron Loecher, construction engineer for the Iowa DOT, District 2, noted the bridge has been staged for construction.  He said crews will begin the removal of half of the bridge decking and plan to finish work on the pilings, as well as set the new beams in place by Christmas.  The project will then be shut down for the winter.  In March, work crews will begin to work on the decking, and plan to pour concrete in April.  A month later, this process will be repeated with the other half of the bridge, with work expected to be finished in early to mid-autumn 2014.

The bridge resurfacing project, at a cost of nearly $2.2 million, was originally scheduled to start sooner. However, with U.S. Hwy. 218 serving as an emergency detour while road construction of Interstate 380 near Evansdale was underway, the bridge project had to wait. Though subject to change, plans call for one lane of the bridge to remain open throughout the duration of the project. Drivers should expect delays as they move through the construction zone and are reminded that the new traffic light is subject to traffic laws enforcement.