Infrastructure: Big street, water projects coming up in 2018

Corridor of Commerce to be extended to include the stretch between 31st, 32nd streets

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
One of the first vehicles to use the newly opened intersection at Fifth Avenue South and South 29th Street drives through shortly after crews removed the barricades. South 29th Street north and south of the intersection remained closed.

A major storm sewer project that reduced traffic flow at the busy intersection of Fifth Avenue South and 29th Street will continue this year.

Additionally, the Corridor of Commerce project that transformed the look of Fifth Avenue South will be extended to include the stretch between 31st and 32nd streets.

Those are two of the high-profile infrastructure efforts that Fort Dodge officials plan to tackle this year.

The annual street paving project and more concrete patching on Kenyon Road will be done along with the big projects.

Here’s a look at what’s planned.

-Messenger file photo
Crews work on the roundabout at 12th Street South and First Avenue South.

South 29th Street storm sewer

During 2017, big new storm sewers along with new water mains were installed under 29th Street between Seventh Avenue South and Taco Tico at 319 S. 29th St.

The work was done in stages, but traffic restrictions were still necessary. For a few weeks last summer, the intersection of Fifth Avenue South and 29th Street was closed.

This summer, the project will resume.

City Engineer Tony Trotter said crews will start at Taco Tico and work their way north, installing oversized storm sewers and some new water mains.

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Crews work on the storm sewer lines on South 29th Street just south of Fifth Avenue South during the summer construction season.

The northernmost driveway to Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St., will be eliminated as part of the project.

The intersection of First Avenue South and 29th Street will be rebuilt. Each side of the intersection will have a left turn lane, a right turn lane and a lane for traffic going straight ahead. When completed, it will look just like the intersection of First Avenue South and 25th Street.

But the project will require the intersection to be closed for about 20 days.

The project’s endpoint will be on South 29th Street near the driveways to Target, 2910 First Ave. S., and Aldi.

In January, the City Council hired Wicks Construction, of Decorah, to do the work at a cost of $2,649,867.10.

Trotter said the work will begin at the end of April.

This construction is part of the larger East Region Storm Sewer Project that has been underway for a few years to improve drainage in the retail heavy eastern side of the city.

“The probability of the mall area flooding is drastically reduced,” Trotter said.

Corridor of Commerce

In 2008, the City Council approved the Corridor of Commerce plan to improve heavily-traveled Fifth Avenue South.

The plan includes a center turning lane, underground electrical lines, new street lights, sidewalks on both sides of the road, brick crosswalks at intersections and decorative limestone pillars and fencing at each corner.

It also includes zoning rules that govern the appearance of the corridor.

Work on the first phase, between 21st and 29th streets, began in 2009.

In 2011, the stretch between 29th and 31st streets was completed.

This year, the section between 31st and 32nd streets is slated for completion.

A contract for it hasn’t been awarded yet, but Trotter said he expects the work will begin this summer.

The work, he said, will be timed to coincide with the construction of a new convenience store in that area.

Southeast trunk sewer

Trotter said new sanitary and storm sewers will be installed as part of this project.

The intersection of 18th Street and 12th Avenue South will be the epicenter of the work. It will extend east to 23rd Street and south to 13th Street.

South central drainage project

This effort will focus on 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th streets between 14th Avenue South and 15th Avenue South.

Trotter said an estimated $3 million will be spent to improve storm sewers there. He said it will be the first year of a multi-year project.

He added that part of 15th Avenue South will have to be closed during construction. That closure will be timed to coincide with the replacement of a bridge on the county road that becomes 15th Avenue South in the city limits.

North First Street Bridge

This short span just south of the AML Riverside LLC plant was built in 1925 and now has many problems, according to Trotter.

He said he expects a contract for its replacement to be awarded in April or May.

The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million. The city has received $1 million from the state Department of Transportation to help pay for it.

Reverse osmosis

Reverse osmosis will reduce the hardness of the city’s drinking water, but will not produce true soft water.

The state Department of Natural Resources is requiring the city to install reverse osmosis equipment in the John W. Pray Water Facility with the goal of reducing the amount of chloride in treated wastewater discharged into the Des Moines River.

The hardness of water is measured in grains, with zero grains being soft water. Fort Dodge water currently measures in at 26 grains of hardness. The planned project will reduce the hardness to seven grains.

Trotter said that in the reverse osmosis process, water is pumped through a plastic membrane filled with microscopic holes that only water molecules can pass through. Those holes, or pores, are smaller than a red blood cell.

Forcing the water molecules through those membranes separates them from things like minerals, radium, chloride, sulfate, ammonia, organic carbon and dissolved solids. That separation produces water with reduced hardness.

Engineers have told the City Council that when the hardness of the water is reduced, residents and businesses won’t have to use their water softeners as much. Because those water softeners use a lot of salt, reducing the need for them will cut the amount of chloride in the wastewater.

The city has received bids for the reverse osmosis equipment, but it is awaiting final approval from the Department of Natural Resources before doing anything else.

Trotter said an addition will have to be built onto the water plant on Phinney Park Drive to house the reverse osmosis equipment.

In conjunction with the reverse osmosis project, a new well will be drilled to replace one that’s more than 80 years old.