Dodge Street construction project outlined

Corner of Dodge Street and Ronalds Street, April 17, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Dodge Street, between Governor and Burlington streets, is scheduled for a major overhaul in 2023, and the Iowa City Department of Public Works held its first public meeting on the project at City Hall on Wednesday evening.

Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until spring 2023, and planning is still in the earliest stages. The meeting presented an outline of the scope of the project.

The goal at this stage of planning is “to provide functional plans to identify a realistic project cost,” explained Jeff Held of Strand Associates, the engineering firm the city hired for the project.

The draft functional design report and plans is scheduled to be completed next month, with the final functional design finished in June.

Construction along this section of Dodge Street presents certain challenges that wouldn’t be present on other stretches of road.

“It does pass through four historic or conservation districts,” Held said. “That’s something that needs to be considered in the design process, and the impact to historic resources need to be considered in a project like this.”

Approximately 1.2 miles of road will be replaced during the two-year project.

“All the utilities will be replaced, including the sanitary sewer and the water main,” Held said. “The storm sewer is expected to be improved. There’s not a lot of storm sewer around the [Dodge Street] corridor right now. We’re expecting to add to that, which will help drainage, reduce potential flooding.”

Plans also call for improvements to the street’s “green infrastructure,” although the exact nature of those improvement hasn’t been determined yet, Held told the half-dozen people attending the meeting.

“It’s mainly storm water-related,” Held said. “The goal tends to be to reduce the quantity of run-off and increase the quality of run-off, to remove some of the sediment out of the run-off.”

The plan’s current outline calls for an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the left-hand side of Dodge (looking northward up the street), a 5-foot-wide bicycle land with a 2-foot-wide buffer, two 11-foot-wide traffic lanes and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the right-hand side of the street.

Other options are under consideration, including elevated intersections and crosswalks designed to encourage drivers to slow down. The speed limit of 25 miles per hour will remain the same.

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This spring, the city will be resurfacing and restriping sections along the section of Dodge Street that will be covered by the project, adding a dedicated southbound bike lane.