IDOT staff estimating June completion for Le Grand viaduct

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY A Volvo backhoe is pictured digging in lower right as work continues on the Le Grand Overpass.

Work continues on one of Central Iowa’s largest highway construction projects — the $6.7 million dollar Highway 146 bypass and viaduct project.

When complete later this year, it will allow Le Grand 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 trains. The UPRR is paying 5 percent or $233,000 of the cost.

With funding in place, Iowa Department of Transportation staff are hopeful a “wet” spring does not delay the project further. Officials closed Highway 146 south of Le Grand in April of last year to allow the contractor to begin work. However, a “wet” fall and other related factors caused extensive delays on the project which was originally scheduled to have been completed in late 2018.

“With all of the rain we had last year, the contractor was prevented from building the bridge berms,” IDOT Resident Construction Engineer Dustin Skogerboe said. “To effectively build the berms, the contractor needed the to soil to compact. The rain prevented that.”

Skogerboe, based in Marshalltown, said the Highway 146 road reconstruction to the south is complete, allowing the contractor to focus on the bridge.

“The contractor is getting ready to place beams in,” he said. “Next will be work on the north abutment followed by piling. And weather will continue to play a critical role of it being finished on time or not.”

Skogerboe estimated the project is more than 50 percent complete.

The road closure has meant area drivers and emergency responders are in their 11th 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.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

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