Construction on the Ped Mall is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 30, Iowa City Senior Engineer Scott Sovers told the audience at Thursday’s public meeting on the Ped Mall Improvement Project. The first phase of construction — which focuses on the Dubuque Street corridor running north from the former Sheraton Hotel through Black Hawk Mini Park — should conclude by Oct. 31. The construction on the east-west axis of the Ped Mall is scheduled to begin in spring 2019 and finish by the end of October.
“We do have a website where you can get more information,” Sovers said. Anyone interested in following the progress on construction can register to receive email updates at the site. “We’ll also be reaching out via Facebook and Twitter.” Plans call for further public meetings as important benchmarks are reached in the project.
Construction work will be permitted from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with the exception of certain dates. There will be no construction during the Downtown Block Party (June 23), the annual Sidewalk Sales (July 19-21), the RAGBRAI stop in Iowa City (July 27-28) or Taste of Iowa City (August 22). Also, like much of the rest of Iowa City, construction will come to a halt when there’s a University of Iowa home football game. On those Hawkeye-centric weekends, work will stop at 5 p.m. on Friday and not resume until 7 a.m. on Monday.
The $7.7 million project will improve the Ped Mall’s infrastructure — including laying a new foundation and replacing the bricks on the walkways — and introduce new attractions, such as story walls celebrating Iowa City’s history. Currently, almost all these in improvements exist only in blueprints and illustrations, but there is one piece of the new and improved Ped Mall already standing in Black Hawk Mini Park.
It’s one of the new pedestrian pole lights, an example of one part of what the improvement plan calls the “multi-layered lighting framework.” Instead of the globe-style fixture at the top, the new lights feature a disc-shaped one.
Unfortunately, the new pole light is already damaged. Part of the cap at the top of the light’s base has been smashed.
The other layers of lighting include accent lights in trees and along the story wells, as well as the lights on structure such as the permanent canopy that will be built over the stage behind the former Sheraton Hotel.