DOT plan includes 2 bridge projects on busy Dubuque roadways

Summer road project

Iowa Department of Transportation officials are planning a bridge abutment project for this summer on U.S. 61/151 in the area near the Locust Street Hy-Vee.

To accommodate the work, traffic will be reduced to two lanes from near the Arby’s restaurant to the South Grandview Avenue area, according to Dubuque Assistant City Engineer Bob Schiesl.

The northbound on-ramp from South Grandview onto U.S. 61/151 will be closed, as will the Central Avenue on-ramp to U.S. 61/151.

More specific details about the project will be released ahead of work starting. 

Other planned road work

Other local projects outlined in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s fiscal years 2023-2027 Transportation Improvement Program include:


  • $10.7 million for bridge deck overlay on U.S. 61 at the Peosta Channel.
  • $15 million for painting and deck overlay on Julien Dubuque Bridge, with the cost split between the Iowa and Illinois DOTs.

Dubuque County

  • $6.8 million to replace the westbound U.S. 20 bridge near the Iowa 136 interchange in Dyersville.

Jackson County 

  • $4.5 million for overlay with paved shoulders on Iowa 62 from Maquoketa to north of Andrew. 
  • $33.3 million to reconstruct the U.S. 52 causeway that leads up to the Mississippi River bridge connecting Sabula, Iowa, and Savanna, Ill. 

Improvements to multiple bridges and significant road reconstruction projects are among the work that Iowa transportation officials have planned locally in the coming years.

State Transportation Commission members on Tuesday approved the Iowa Department of Transportation’s fiscal year 2023-2027 Transportation Improvement Program. The document details highway and bridge projects that the department expects to construct over the next five years.

The DOT’s draft plan includes a variety of local projects, including bridge work in Dubuque and road reconstruction projects.

Dubuque bridge projects

The DOT plan outlines several projects to replace and rehabilitate bridges in Dubuque.

DOT officials will replace the Dodge Street westbound bridge located near the Dodge Street Hy-Vee. The DOT’s plan would budget about $6.2 million for the work in fiscal year 2025.

“(The bridge) has reached the end of its design life, and maintenance is expensive,” said Sam Shea, district transportation planner for the DOT. “The older the bridges get, we usually get to a point where it’s more cost effective to replace a bridge than it is to continue to repair it.”

DOT officials will coordinate with the City of Dubuque to determine how to handle traffic impacts from that work, which likely will involve shifting traffic over to the eastbound bridge.

“It’ll likely disrupt traffic noticeably on Dodge (Street),” said DOT resident construction engineer Hugh Holak.

The DOT also plans to replace the South Grandview Avenue bridge that crosses over U.S. 61/151 in southern Dubuque. Work on the $1.9 million project is expected to take place in 2023.

“That bridge is really old,” Holak said. “… It’s substandard in clearances, both width and height, for (U.S.) 61.”

Dubuque Assistant City Engineer Bob Schiesl noted that the project will cause significant traffic disruptions because it will require the closure of South Grandview, meaning that Dubuque residents living east of U.S. 61/151 who use South Grandview will have to be detoured.

“We are currently still working with the DOT staff and their team on how we are going to manage traffic,” Schiesl said. “We don’t have all those details worked out.”

Iowa 3 reconstruction

Outside of the city of Dubuque, work continues to reconstruct Iowa 3 from Luxemburg to Sageville. While crews are actively working on the second phase of the project, the DOT is planning the final phase of work.

It will span from around Sherrill Road in Sageville to just past Boy Scout Road between Durango and Rickardsville.

Construction on that $15.8 million phase is expected to start in 2024 and might extend into 2025. Shea noted that this particular stretch of road is particularly complicated to work on because portions are located along bluffs and because it will require officials to close a portion of the Heritage Trail.

“It’s very challenging work to try and cut the bluff on one side, stay out of the river on the other side, and also we have a trail detour that we’ll have to put in place for the Heritage Trail, so all of that might end up pushing this into a two-year project,” Shea said.

Delaware County project

The DOT’s plan also includes some large-scale projects in other local Iowa counties.

Those include a reconstruction of Iowa 13 in Delaware County from the north edge of Manchester to the road’s intersection with Iowa 3 near Edgewood. Crews will improve drainage and the road bed and install new pavement and paved shoulders.

“The original pavement is decades old,” Holak said. “… It’s got three different layers of different types of pavement, and it’s finally coming up for a total reconstruct. Every year, we do patching out there, and the patching is nearing futility.”

Work on the approximately $25.4 million project would start in 2024 and is expected to last one construction season.