I've had the question posed to me a lot since summer. "When is the roundabout going to be done at the Urbana corner?" I've learned to explain that just because there's a date it doesn't necessarily mean that the road will be open. Lately, I've answered with, "Two weeks ago."
It all started in July 2020 when the state asked for input on a roundabout at the Urbana corner at the intersection of Iowa 150 with 31st Avenue and 55th Street in Benton County. As a result of a tragic accident onApril 9, 2015, at this intersection, it was determined to create a roundabout in an attempt to make this section of the highway safer.
With construction slated to begin on May 31, it was projected that the roundabout would be completed sometime in early October. Of course, that didn't happen.
Just to complicate things even more, the state also announced that they would be resurfacing a portion of Hwy 150 that was included in the detour route adding lane closures that impacted travel time. The resurfacing project was set to be completed in late June.
Finally, on October 11the Iowa Department of Transportation said, "We mean it for real this time, we're going to start construction on October 17", and they finally did. They figured that it would be done by mid-November, weather permitting. Then it was reported in a Supervisor's meeting that it might be a couple of weeks later.
There are some things that you report and some that you say, "I'll believe it when I see it." That was one of those announcements that I figured, I'd hold off on.
The latest date released is December 9, next Friday. However, it comes with a "Honey-Do" list. Work on the roundabout isn't completely finished and it's not expected to be done by next week either. So that means...more road work in the spring.
It's unclear if it will require a road closure or detour again, but hopes are that it might mean just closing part of it at a time so that traffic can continue. As a project of the Iowa Department of Transportation, there isn't any local control for completion.
The delays in the project are a result of delays in receiving materials and finding enough workers, something that's become all too common. For this reason, let's all cut them a little slack.
With work finally wrapping up for the season in December, enjoy it while you can. Back in May, the county engineer, Myron Parizek said, "I don't think that there's a highway that the DOT maintains in Benton County that isn't going to be impacted in one way or the other this year or the next." But seriously, while it's a pain in the spring and summer for motorists, it's a blessing in the winter.
Thanks to all of the men and women who design and create these roads and who are responsible for doing all of the grunt work to make our roads possible. Part of having nice roads to drive on is the inconvenience of repairing the nice roads that we drive on.
So until Spring, and barring something crazy happening, look for signs to come down next Friday, December 9th on Highway 150, north of Vinton.