MASON CITY — The next phase of the State Highway 122 project in Mason City was scheduled to get underway today, but due to this morning’s rainfall, paving of the westbound lanes will get underway tomorrow.
Iowa Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Hjelmstad says all the underground work has been completed and now it’s time to start putting down new concrete. “We will be paving from just east of Pennsylvania back over to Highway 65. What that means is the paving machine will be starting on the east end, moving west, and the trucks have to get into the work zone. We’ll be closing an outside lane of US 65 northbound so the trucks can get into the work zone in the area of 122. Just something to be aware of that while the paving is going on there will be a lane closure in that section of 65.”
Hjelmstad says they want to let people know that they should not be walking through the construction zone, especially when the paving begins. “Especially in an urban setting we have people walk through there all the time, which we very strongly discourage. It becomes even more important now when there’s new concrete going down. This is a slip-form paver, which means there are no forms, and that concrete might look like it’s dry and you might think it’s ok to quick move across that, and it’s very possible that it’s still wet. I don’t think you want to have to deal with payments or repercussions if you walk through wet concrete.”
While there were concerns about traffic flow being routed into the eastbound section of the highway between Monroe and Carolina Avenues, Hjelmstad says things seem to have improved. “According to our inspectors who are out there, and it’s like this pretty much every project in every city, after the first couple of weeks, everybody adjusts and everything goes a lot more smoothly, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Traffic seems to be moving through there pretty well. There’s a lot of people who I’ve talked to who have said ‘no we don’t even go there anymore just because we don’t want to deal with any of the delays or anything’, and that’s great, we encourage that. If you don’t need to go through that area, don’t go through that area. Things have definitely improved. We appreciate people’s patience and we appreciate everybody who finds a different route.”
The westbound part of the project is slated to be completed late this fall, with the eastbound lanes being taken care of in 2019.