Hwy. 30 bypass Officials share construction plans
April 20, 2017 · Nathan Countryman
For members of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the largest complaint they've heard about the Hwy. 30 bypass project has been the lack of communication.
"People need to keep in mind that we're spread thin across the state for this project," said Mark Brandl, of the DOT's Davenport office. "It doesn't excuse our lack of communication, and it's something we're definitely working on."
Members of the DOT held an open house meeting last week in Mount Vernon where they heard from landowners with concerns.
The DOT is planning a three-year construction process, with hopes the bypass south of Mount Vernon and Lisbon will be completed in 2020.
"Of course, if we see years with higher than usual rainfalls, that could push the project further back in completion," Brandl said.
This year, Brandl said that grading would be the most significant part of the project.
Contractors are moving earth to prepare to build bridges over the bypass at Sutliff Road, Standing Rock Road, and Green Ridge Road. They are also moving earth for a Hwy. 30 bridge over Hwy. 1.
The DOT plans to close Green Ridge, Sutliff and Standing Rock roads the first week of April was delayed slightly due to rain.
"Obviously, weather can have an impact on our schedule," said the DOT's Doug McDonald.
Those three roads do need to be closed, however, as they will be crossing over the new Hwy. 30 bypass.
"Part of that project right now is getting the berms of land that's going to house those bridges built up," said DOT official Cedric Wilkinson. "It takes 60 to 90 days for the ground to be firmed up before we can place a bridge deck to cross over the bypass project."
Wilkinson said the main focus for contractors is completing Sutliff Road as soon as possible, with hopes to reopen the road by November of this year, once the bridge crossing of the bypass is completed on that road.
"Our main goal is to definitely have Sutliff Road opened by this fall to help ease the traffic going north and south from Lisbon and Mount Vernon," Wilkinson said.
The DOT is also reconstructing Adams Avenue, which will be Lisbon's bypass interchange. McDonald said the current Adams Avenue won't be closed until the Green Ridge, Sutliff and Standing Rock roads are completed.
"We needed to have a way people using either of those three roads could find a way to the city of Lisbon or Mount Vernon," McDonald said.
Most of the other work this season is grading for the entire span of the bypass and work on the culvert crossings before the roads are poured. Bridges for Standing Rock, Sutliff and Green Ridge will also be completed, but it may be later in the season.
"Bridge contractors like working on those types of projects in the winter months if they can," Brandl said.
A portion of Willow Creek Road south of current Hwy. 30 is also being closed this year to lower the elevation of that road to pass under bridges slated to cross the road, and people may have seen a lot of dirt and rock being moved in the area of that road.
"We're working on one of the culverts at that area," Wilkinson said. "We have two streams that we need to put in new culverts to the east of Willow Creek Road, and we've had to move in a lot of rocks and dirt to get one of the culverts placed."
A relief and access road is also being built parallel and south of Hwy. 30 and west of Willow Creek Road.
Truck traffic, Hwy. 1 crossing
People may be seeing a lot more truck traffic on Hwy. 30 between Lisbon and Mount Vernon.
Dirt from some areas will be shuttled by truck from Lisbon to Willow Creek Road and where the bypass will cross over Hwy. 1.
Like the crossings at Green Ridge, Sutliff and Standing Rock, the dirt for the berms and building up the ground for the road to cross over Hwy. 1 needs to be placed 60 to 90 days ahead of the bridges being constructed.
Asked why they chose to take the bypass over Hwy. 1, Brandl said that was done for two major reasons.
"Taking Hwy. 1 over the bypass would have needed to close Hwy. 1 for a period of time during this project," Brandl said. "Also, to take Hwy. 1 over the bypass would require substantial build-up of dirt and other items to the roads on either side of the bypass, and that would also have impacted businesses along Hwy. 1 and the current intersection of Hwy. 30."
One of the last phases of the project is regrading Hwy. 1 from the bypass entrance up to the roundabout, and McDonald said that will be when businesses in Mount Vernon may see an impact.
"As part of that repaving, we'll probably need to work at where those businesses intersect with Hwy. 1," McDonald said.
Brandl said a goal of the DOT has been to lessen the impact as much as possible over the course of the project. Traffic on Hwy. 1 will be reduced to one lane at times, especially during bridge work in the fall, but there won't be an extended closure of Hwy. 1.
Dave Schechinger, city engineer for Mount Vernon and Lisbon, was concerned about traffic that would be hauling rock and other heavy materials. He was particularly concerned with truck traffic on Cemetery Road and Washington Street in Lisbon.
Brandl said most of the hauling of materials, including rocks and dirt, would use Adams Avenue and Light Road to reach the bypass site.
"I'm not saying you may not see trucks on the city roads, but the heavier loaded trucks, we all have instructed to come from the south and avoid traveling on city streets as much as possible," Brandl said.
Dirt, which weighs less than gravel, concrete and other rocks needed in construction, will either be driven along the bypass route being graded or along current Hwy. 30 to get to its destination to the west.
Light Road traffic
Residents living along Light Road asked if the plan had taken into consideration the amount of additional local and truck traffic along the gravel road, and if there was going to be additional dust control applied.
Wilkinson said they had met with the county about contacting their dust control applicators to do more passes along the road during the course of the project to cut down on the dust.
Citizens were also concerned that Light Road will become much more dangerous during construction, especially at the intersections with other roads and the increased truck traffic.
Residents asked if there were any more plans to cut down additional trees along the route.
Brandl said the trees that were currently cut down were the ones that were slated to be disturbed as part of the project.
"It's definitely not our favorite thing to do," Brandl said. "We try to only cut the ones we needed to cut down along the route."
Brandl said that one of the things that will be happening after the project is nearing completion will be the planting of grasses and flowers along the bypass route.
Using the bypass
Residents asked about specifics on Adams Avenue or how the connection from the bypass to the current Hwy. 30 would be completed.
The answers weren't as specific, as plans are still being constructed for portions of the project to be completed in the upcoming years.
"We know eastbound old Hwy. 30 will most likely dead end before it reaches the bypass, we're just not sure where that road dead ending will occur," McDonald said.
Residents also asked about the slip curve at Irish Lane constructed for where current Hwy. 30 interacts with the new bypass. McDonald said that was added at the request of the City of Mount Vernon and was done to not impact the way people usually travel to enter the current Hwy. 30 from Mount Vernon. The slip curve will allow people westbound to enter the bypass from the current Hwy. 30.
One other question asked was what the speed along the bypass will be.
Brandl said that the road was being built to current highway specifications, allowing vehicles to travel up to 65 miles per hour along the road.
"We will have to conduct a speed survey when the project is concluding, however," Brandl said. "It could be 65 to a certain point and slow down as they near the two-lane version of Hwy. 30 again. We won't know until we conduct that speed survey on the road as we wind down."