Iowa City Fire Department temporarily closes Northside station

An ongoing improvement project at the intersection of First Avenue and Scott Boulevard will cause the closure of Iowa City’s fourth Northside fire station, resulting in slightly longer wait times for emergency calls.


Matt Sindt

A fire truck is seen at the Iowa City Fire Station 1 Headquarters on Wednesday, Oct.12, 2022.

Grace Katzer, News Reporter

The Iowa City Fire Department’s fourth Northside station, located at 2008 N. Dubuque Road, will be temporarily closed for construction on First Avenue and Scott Boulevard intersection. The closure will result in slightly longer wait times for emergency calls in the fourth district.

Iowa City Public Safety announced Oct. 5 that the fourth station will remain closed until Oct. 20. 

City of Iowa City senior engineer Justin Harland said the project, geared toward turning the current four-way stop into a roundabout, is nearing completion. 

“The purpose was to get people in commerce through that intersection as quickly and efficiently as we can,” he said. “Roundabouts have historically been proven to increase the efficiency of the traffic flow intersections.”

Harland said the temporary closure of fire station four was necessary for the completion of the project. 

“We worked with the fire department in this case to kind of figure out what made the most sense for them and if we were putting anybody in jeopardy,” he said. “We really had some great communication with them.”

Deputy Fire Chief Eric Nurnberg said the fire department is working to make the closure as safe as possible for citizens in need. 

“We were able to make sure our emergency access wasn’t impeded by working with the other city departments,” he said. “Both the ambulance and the fire engine that are at station four can still have quick access to the rest of the fire district.”

However, the improvement project has inevitably led to slower emergency response times in the fourth district, Nurnberg said. 

“We are now responding to fourth district calls here at station one,” he said. “The response times will be protracted slightly the further east and northeast we go in the district.”

Iowa City Fire Department Station 1 Headquarters is at ​​410 E. Washington St. 

The anticipated wait time was expected to increase by about 60-90 seconds for calls from the fourth district. Now that the closure is in effect, Nurnberg said the department is seeing a 67-second increase in wait times. 

Nurnberg said the first station is accommodating the temporary solution well. 

“Moving engine four down here was really the best response for us to have to this temporary closure,” he said. 

The improvement projects on First Avenue and Scott Boulevard have been ongoing since April 4, but Harland said there had been a number of issues, such as material supply and labor shortages, that have delayed the project’s completion. 

According to the closure announcement, the new roundabout will be open on Oct. 20 when the project is  completed. 

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