Campus construction could cause delays at Hawkeye football games

As construction within campus continues, detours are to be anticipated for home football games.

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Campus construction could cause delays at Hawkeye football games

Road construction signs on Myrtle Avenue in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

Road construction signs on Myrtle Avenue in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Road construction signs on Myrtle Avenue in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Road construction signs on Myrtle Avenue in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

Katie Ann McCarver, News Reporter

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As the Hawkeyes’ first football game of the season approaches, rising concerns in regard to the construction in the area have many people asking what detours and delays they can expect in the coming weeks.

According to the Iowa City Public Works Department, obstructions to the stadium will be minimal, at least no more than in recent years.

The most likely hindrance for Hawkeye fans will be the lane closures on Highway 6 from Sturgis Corner Drive to Rocky Shore Drive near the city limits.

“This construction will extend through September, potentially into October,” Iowa City senior civil engineer Ben Clark said. “It’s part of a larger project, including inserting new traffic signals, lane widening, and structural improvements.”

The major impact will be at the Myrtle Avenue intersection, but engineers promise there will be additional signs for parking lots on game days.

Most, if not all, other construction in the area will continue in the spring. Furthermore, it will be done at night to minimize traffic delays.

“The length of a project depends on its size and more importantly, its funding,” Clark said. “Sometimes it can be done in a pretty condensed time period, other times it cannot.”

The Parking & Transportation department is preparing for football season and the traffic that comes with it, said strategic communication manager April Wells.

“Football game days are like orchestras,” she said. “There are all these moving parts, and everything has to move at certain times. Our part is to be a supporting structure. The Athletics Department tells us what it needs, and we help accommodate that.”

The latter includes setting up parking lots the Friday before games and reserving space for tailgating, Wells said. In heavily pedestrian areas, streets close approximately two hours before the game and two hours after.

“There’s a road closure at Melrose that does make getting to the hospital complex by Kinnick a little bit challenging,” she said. “We advise people to come from the north on Hawkins Drive.”

There will be two northbound lanes for exiting the game, she said, because of safety concerns about the Gateway Project and consequent narrow lanes along Dubuque Street.

Gateway, focusing on reconstruction to minimize damage in reaction to the 2008 flood, has been responsible for revamping Dubuque Street since May 2016. The highly anticipated Park Road Bridge is expected to open Friday evening, Wells said.

The Cambus routes have had to make small daily changes to adapt to such construction. Wells said services were increased on some routes to maintain normal departure times. Some routes also have been redirected, she said.

Dubuque Street lanes will, hopefully, reopen in the near future, said special projects administrator Melissa Clow.

“We will continue to have head-to-head traffic on Dubuque Street, so everyone needs to expect delays,” she said. “I would estimate four to six weeks before all lanes are open.”

Further construction includes the Pedestrian Mall Streetscape Plan, Clark said, which is estimated to be finished in 2019 and will involve utility work, brick surfacing, ADA accessibility upgrades, among other items.

As construction continues, engineers ask that students and citizens adhere to sidewalk and street closings, following the detour signs provided.

“People will come jogging through a construction site,” Clow said. “A girl recently ran across the freshly laid concrete and tracked it over the bridge.”

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