Roadwork: Notable projects planned in 2021 in Dubuque County

Although the work should have minimal impact on traffic, multiple significant road construction projects are slated to take place in Dubuque County this year.

Since the Southwest Arterial project is now complete, the biggest project set for this year is finishing the new diamond interchange near Swiss Valley Road west of Dubuque and installing frontage roads along U.S. 20, said Hugh Holak, a resident construction engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The $38.3 million DOT project began last year.

Direct highway access will be eliminated from Cottingham Road on the edge of Peosta to Old Highway Road in Dubuque to improve safety. U.S. 20 also will be realigned to straighten out the curve at Swiss Valley Road.

“If you’re coming and going through some of the (business) driveways … trying to turn left out of the driveways is difficult to do with the high-speed traffic,” Holak said.

Paving work has started, and the project is scheduled to be completed around Thanksgiving.

While paving is going on through the year, Holak said two lanes of traffic will be open in each direction during the day and one lane at night. The biggest traffic impact will come for people trying to get to businesses along U.S. 20 as new frontage road access points are created.

“Getting access to the businesses could change weekly out there in the summer,” he said. “That’s where the challenge is going to be.”

In the city of Dubuque, a portion of West 17th Street near Welu Printing will be closed as water grates are installed to better collect rainwater during inclement weather events, city civil engineer Jon Dienst said. That project is set to start in early May.

“That’ll close the street down in that area for a month and a half,” he said. “I don’t anticipate it to be a high inconvenience for people. There’s lots of ways to get around that area.”

Another project to be completed this year is the reconstruction of Chavenelle Road from the Northwest Arterial to Radford Road, he said.

While the project will be done this summer, Dienst said there is no exact timeline yet as officials wait for word on a potential DOT grant to offset some of the estimated $3.5 million project cost.

In total, the Chavenelle Road project will take an estimated four months, he said. During that time, only one lane of the road will be open at a time.

In addition, a new section of the hiking/biking trail in that area will be completed, though Dienst noted that won’t impact traffic. The current DOT-funded trail comes down the Northwest Arterial and ends at Chavenelle Road. The new trail section along Chavenelle will run from Radford to Seippel roads.

The trail is part of the long-term master plan for a hiking/biking trail looping around the city, he said.

“What we think will end up happening is the trail will be constructed later (after the Chavenelle Road project), but we’ll just have to see how everything works with bidding,” Dienst said.

Holak added there will be a few minor DOT projects that will impact traffic, including a routine cleaning of Julien Dubuque Bridge. During the cleaning, the eastbound lane of the bridge will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and traffic will be detoured through Wisconsin.

This closure mimics the one that lasted for more than four months last year while the bridge was under construction. But Holak said the cleaning should only take about one week, though he isn’t sure when that will be yet.

“It won’t be all summer like it has been the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s a few days in a row, and then they’re done.”