Some downtown roads closed for foreseeable future

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Downtown Marshalltown is still recovering from the immediate effects of the July 19 tornado: rubble is being cleared from the streets, parking spaces are being cleaned up and business owners are working to fix up their locations along Main Street. City Public Works Director Justin Nickel said residents and visitors should avoid driving and parking along Main Street if possible, but said most streets in the rest of the affected area are open for drivers.

Marshalltown residents trying to travel around the downtown area may have to deal with some road blockages for the foreseeable future.

That’s the message from Marshalltown Public Works Director Justin Nickel. He said crews are cleaning up Main Street and the downtown area of debris and asked city-goers to park and drive elsewhere, if possible.

“If you’re going to shop or visit a restaurant or something, we encourage you to park in one of the city parking lots — that may mean you have to walk a block or two or three,” Nickel said.

He said ongoing construction at the Marshall County Courthouse and a planned building demolition at the corner of Main Street and North Center Street this week will create further need for the road blocks.

“It’s going to be a dynamic situation on (Main) Street being closed at times and being open at times,” Nickel said.

There are public parking lots throughout the downtown area. Nickel said a “living map” of street closures and information is set to be up on the city website’s home page by Thursday. He said the map may not show up-to-the-minute information, but will be updated at least daily.

Keeping up on cleanup

Though it’s been two weeks since a powerful tornado ripped through northern Marshalltown, residents are still working to clean up debris on their property. City officials are hoping to get vegetative debris, like tree branches and limbs, off properties and out of the city’s streets.

An official message from the city states residents have until 8 a.m. Aug. 7 to move vegetative debris to the terraces outside their homes to be picked up by city workers.

“The strategy on that was to give people a deadline because we need to begin transitioning to moving construction debris,” Nickel said. “We know we’re going to have to go back after that deadline, but we wanted to encourage people to get their vegetative debris out of their backyards and onto the terraces now so that we can finish our first, second, third, however many sweeps of vegetative debris.”

Despite concerns last week that the Marshalltown Compost Facility, 901 Woodland St., would be filled quickly, Nickel said there was still room for more tree debris as of Wednesday afternoon.

He said city officials will soon be able to grind up tree debris currently at the facility to make even more room for debris delivered by residents.

At the Marshall County Landfill, 2313 Marshalltown Boulevard, manager Don Ballalatak said last week’s stream of users continued into the weekend.

“Saturday and Monday were busy and then (Tuesday) was not terrible … the traffic seems to be slowing down,” he said. “We’re OK on space, if it rains we’d run into a little bit of an issue but we’re knocking on wood that doesn’t happen.”

Ballalatak said rain may cause issues for people and equipment to move around the landfill site, causing potential delays. Landfill users must have their load covered by a tarp and secured before entering the facility.

Landfill figures

•The Marshall County Landfill took in 1,203 tons of waste in the storm’s immediate aftermath July 23-24

•A total of 1,222 tons of storm waste was taken in during the days of July 27-28 and July 30-31

•In the 10-day span between July 21-31, the landfill recorded 3,568.21 tons of storm-related debris and waste.

The Marshalltown city website can be reached at https://www.marshalltown-ia.gov

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com