After an approximately hour-and-a-half public hearing on the matter, the Dyersville City Council signed off on the specifications for the X49/roundabout project, Jan. 6.
Julie Neebel, project manager and engineer with IIW, has been working on this project since 2012 and said she is happy to finally see it heading toward the bidding phase.
Neebel gave the council a brief overview of some of the main staples of the project and stated whatever contractor should be awarded the bid has to be started by June 1. The current schedule is to bid the project in April and potentially award it in May.
Aside from adding a roundabout large enough to accommodate large trucks and farm equipment at the intersection of X49 and 1st Avenue, X49 will be widened from 24-feet-wide to 28 feet, with paved six-foot shoulders on each side, and the elevation of the roadway will also be lowered to lessen the impact on adjacent property owners.
With about a dozen property owners in attendance, the impact on drainage was the most pressing topic of discussion. The area will keep the ditch and culvert system for the time being.
“We know the ditches can fill up with water pretty quickly out there, so we’ve modeled that to make sure the new elevation of the roadway stays above the level of that 100-year event,” she said. “We know it’s important to have reliability with that roadway.”
Some in attendance wanted to know why the project just didn’t include curb, gutter and underground storm sewer. Michel explained that the funding mechanisms for this project require it to be a “rural design,” which doesn’t include curb and gutter, but those could be done as a separate project down the road.
“This is an optimal design standard for future growth,” Michel said, alluding to the fact that there could be future residential development around Tegeler Pond.
There was also a concern regarding road closures brought forth via a letter from Jerry and Jeanine Koch, which was addressed by Neebel.
To soothe concerns about the impact on traffic, Neebel gave a general outline of specific restrictions to keep traffic flowing that are embedded within the proposed contract:
• During May and June of this year, D22 (Old Hwy 20 west of the intersection) can be closed and 1st Avenue will be open, but could be controlled by traffic signals for up to four weeks
• Flaggers can be used to control traffic on X49
• Anytime work is conducted south of the intersection that would restrict traffic, flaggers have to be used
• X49 north of the intersection would be allowed to be closed during May and June
• July 1 (which according to the ethanol plant is one of their busiest months) to Aug. 16 everything needs to be open to two lanes of traffic at all times, but work could still be done outside the shoulder
• If Iowa’s Ride comes through, there would be days where the contractor would not be allowed to work in the area
• Aug. 17 to Oct. 1, the road could be closed and detours would be allowed for all routes
• Oct. 1 the road to the west can be closed, but X49 needs to be open to two lanes of traffic at all times along with 1st Avenue
• There will be no winter detours and all roads need to be open to two lanes of traffic and hard surfaced during the winter shutdown
• In 2021, if they need additional work time, from April 15 to July 1, X49 could be under detour for up to eight weeks along with D22 to the west, but 1st Avenue must be open to at least one lane of traffic.
“We are keeping things open, but we are also trying to give the contractor as much flexibility as possible to get the best bids as possible,” Neebel said, adding that staging of the project is also ultimately up to the contractor. “We’re telling them they can be creative and do what works best for their schedule, but we also have to serve the public and make sure the roads are open during certain dates.”
While the project needs to be totally completed by July 1, 2021, seeding and other work outside the roadway could continue provided there is no hindrance to traffic.
“We’ve been talking about this for eight years, it’s time to do it,” Michel said. “There’s no assessment to the property owners on this and I think the public knows how important this project is — the road is falling apart. If we don’t do anything now, we’re running into a situation where we have another year delay and then it gets outside of our price range and we can’t afford it and have to go back to the bond market.”