MASON CITY — With the first day of spring this week, it also means the start of road construction season in the area. Iowa Department of Transportation field service coordinator Pete Hjelmstad says there’s a couple of major projects slated in Mason City this year.
He says work has already started on State Highway 122 between Monroe and Carolina Avenues with the utility companies getting their utilities repositioned. He says, “What you’ve been seeing over the last year or so is utility relocations. Utility companies are allowed to locate in our right-of-way, free of charge, they have to obviously let us know they are going in, we have to issue permits so we know where they are. But if we are doing a project like the reconstruction project on 122 and they are in our way, they have to relocate.”
Hjelmstad says work will then start taking place in April with the reconstruction of the westbound lanes. He says, “You’ll start seeing some lane closures on either end of the project, the Monroe and Carolina areas. Then after a couple of weeks, we’ll be closing the westbound lanes and all traffic will be moved to the eastbound lanes. There will be traffic going in both directions like a two-way street. Reconstruction of the westbound lanes will then get underway.”
Hjelmstad says the westbound lanes will be resurfaced this year with the eastbound lanes being taken care of in 2019. He says, “This is a two-year project. We’ll do the westbound lanes this year. When that is complete late this fall, everything will be opened to traffic as it is now. Then come next spring, we’ll close down the eastbound lanes and move all the traffic into the westbound lanes like a two-way street, and repeat the process.”
Hjelmstad says the other major project will be the resurfacing of US Highway 65 between 6th and 18th Streets North starting in mid-April. He says traffic will continue throughout the project, with one lane in each direction. “One of the big changes when this project is done is traffic instead of a four-lane road will be a three-lane road, one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. We are also removing the traffic signal at 9th Street. Traffic signals need to meet certain criteria, and because of the traffic, or lack of traffic, the signals at 9th Street are no longer needed and will be removed as part of this project as well.”
Hjelmstad says other projects around the area include resurfacing part of Interstate 35 between County Road B-20 to State Highway 9 starting in April, as well as resurfacing US Highway 69 and State Highway 9 north of Forest City.
You can hear our full interview with Hjelmstad by clicking on the audio player below.