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U.S. 169 upgrade unveiled

New pavement, bridges set for 2011 completion

February 18, 2009
By JESSE HELLING, Messenger staff writer

From Kenyon Road to the southern outskirts of Humboldt, U.S. Highway 169 will see massive upgrades over the next two years.

On Tuesday, officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation unveiled a two-phase, $11 million slate of improvements to the section of the highway that skirts the western city limits of Fort Dodge during a meeting at the Fort Dodge Public Library.

Plans call for reconstructing six 1960s-era bridges, along with replacing the more-than-40-year-old pavement between the Business U.S. Highway 169 interchange and Iowa Highway 7.

The project is scheduled to begin in 2010, when the northbound lanes will be reconstructed. Bridges over Business Highway 169, the Canadian National railroad tracks and Lizard Creek will be rebuilt.

The new bridges will be 40 feet wide - which means that, unlike the current bridges, they will match the width of the rest of the pavement, said Tony Gustafson, an assistant district engineer for the DOT.

"The narrower bridges were part of some cost-saving idea in the 1960s," he said.

Fact Box

U.S. Highway 169 upgrades planned

U.S. Highway 169 between Kenyon Road and Iowa Highway 7 will see a two-stage upgrade beginning in 2010. The project is estimated to cost $11 million.

Phase one, 2010

- The northbound lanes of Highway 169 between the Business Highway 169 interchange and Iowa Highway 7 will be reconstructed. Traffic will be shifted to the southbound lanes, one lane in each direction.

- In addition to repaving the travel lanes, a paved shoulder will be added.

-Northbound bridges over Business Highway 169, Lizard Creek and Canadian National Railroad tracks will be rebuilt. The new bridges will be 40 feet wide.

-During this phase of the project, the Highway 169-Avenue G intersection will be closed. The on-ramp from Business Highway 169 to northbound Highway 169 will also be closed, with traffic detoured to Kenyon Road.

Phase two, 2011

-The southbound lanes of Highway 169 between the Business 169 interchange and Iowa Highway 7 will be reconstructed. Traffic will be shifted to the northbound lanes, one lane in each direction.

-In addition to repaving the travel lanes, a paved shoulder will be added.

-Northbound bridges over Business Highway 169, Lizard Creek and Canadian National Railroad tracks will be rebuilt. The new bridges will be 40 feet wide.

-During this phase of the project, the Highway 169-Avenue G intersection will be closed. The on-ramp from Business Highway 169 to southbound Highway 169 will also be closed, with traffic detoured to Kenyon Road.

-The off-ramp from southbound Highway 169 to Business 169 will be realigned so that the curve of the road will be less sharp.

-Between Kenyon Road and the Business 169 interchange, diamond-grinding will be completed to smooth the existing pavement. A four-foot paved shoulder will also be constructed on both northbound and southbound lanes.

Modern design standards will also come into play in reconstructing the Business Highway 169 interchange.

The off-ramp to exit from southbound Highway 169 will be relocated slightly to the west, which will make the curve less sharp, Gustafson said.

That part of the project is slated for 2011, which will also see reconstruction of the southbound lanes between Business Highway 169 and Highway 7.

During the project, the grading of the bridges at the interchange will be raised approximately three feet, Gustafson said.

To gain fill material for that part of the project, the DOT proposes acquiring a four-acre section of land southwest of the interchange. Soil would be removed, leaving a pond similar to that which was created near the junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Business U.S. Highway 20 west of Fort Dodge, Gustafson said.

According to a DOT map, the land in question is currently owned by Three Eagles of Lincoln Inc.

In most cases, land used for such purposes remains in DOT possession after the project is completed, said Mike Clayton, a transportation planner for the DOT.

Also in 2011, diamond-grinding will smooth the existing pavement on Highway 169 between Kenyon Road and the Business Highway 169 interchange.

The entire stretch from Kenyon Road to Iowa Highway 7 will see paved shoulders, Gustafson said.

The project will have several effects on travelers.

During construction, two lanes of the highway will be closed, with two-way traffic routed onto the lanes not under construction at the time.

Traffic wishing to use the Business Highway 169 interchange will be detoured to Kenyon Road.

"That way, the detour is on all state-maintained routes," said Gustafson. All of Business Highway 169 is officially Iowa Highway 926, owned and maintained by the DOT.

The Highway 169-Avenue G intersection will be closed for the duration of the project.

The Highway 169 project near Fort Dodge will be completed concurrently with another planned upgrade to the route between Iowa Highway 7 and Humboldt, which is intended to make the busy road safer.

In that project, also estimated to cost $11 million, new turning lanes will be added and intersections will be widened.

Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or jhelling@messengernews.net

 
 

 

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