$6.7M Le Grand viaduct construction well underway

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Workers make their way toward heavy equipment Tuesday at the Highway 146 by-pass construction site south of Le Grand. To the right is the Union Pacific Rail Road’s main east-west line. Construction crews have graded land in preparation of building a viaduct to carry traffic over the tracks.

Work continues on one of Central Iowa’s largest highway construction projects that will cost $6.7 million.

The Highway 146 bypass will allow area residents, emergency responders and farmers to drive over the Union Pacific Rail Road Company’s main east-west line versus having to wait for passing freight trains.

The UPRR is paying 5 percent, or $233,000, Andy Loonan, IDOT Transportation Planner said.

“Contractors have been busy building berms, which is critical to the project,” Dustin Skogerboe of the IDOT said. “Once those are completed, the project will progress significantly, and weather will play a critical role of it being finished on time or not.”

Highway 146 was closed southwest of Le Grand April 2 to allow construction crews time to be finished by Nov. 21 — the estimated finish date.

Marshalltown, Le Grand’s neighbor eight miles to the west, has for years enjoyed three viaducts built over the once-bustling Marshalltown railroad yards. The road closure has meant area drivers and emergency responders are in their fifth month of detours.

“We know detours caused by the construction has inconvenienced emergency responders because they have had to detour to Marshall County Road T-31 and elsewhere,” said Marshall County Emergency Management Director Kim Elder. “It has been a challenge since that portion of Highway 146 was closed, and it will continue to be a challenge. However, we can all look forward to a much safer and convenient way over the tracks when the viaduct is completed.”

Additionally, traffic has been detoured around the work zone using U.S. 30, Iowa 14, Iowa 146 and Marshall County Road E-63.

To receive email or text alerts about traffic incidents, road closures, traffic delays and other restrictions that affect this highway route or other routes you travel, the Iowa DOT offers the “Your 511” option on 511ia.org. It’s easy to subscribe to Your 511 and sign up to receive the email/text alerts. Visit https://iowadot.gov/511/511-full-feature-website-help/how-to-videos for simple, step-by-step instructions.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com