Highway 965 bridge over Iowa River to close Tuesday for repairs

Drivers should add extra time to commute, expect detour until end of November

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IOWA CITY — Johnson County commuters will no longer be able to access the Highway 965 bridge over the Iowa River, beginning Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Weather permitting, Cramer and Associates, a contractor out of Grimes, Iowa, is scheduled to begin work to replace the bridge deck. During the construction process, which is expected to last until the end of November, drivers won’t be able to access the bridge whatsoever.

Instead, the county wants drivers to take a detour which utilizes 120th Street in Shueyville, Interstate 380 and Penn Street in North Liberty. Rob Winstead, assistant county engineer, said he also recommends drivers allow extra time in their commute, be patient and follow all the signs.

Highway 965 drivers are familiar with delays in their commute, however. The Board of Supervisors enacted a 20-ton weight limit and reduced the bridge to just one lane of traffic in May after maintenance employees found cracks in the bridge deck.

Since then, VJ Engineering of Coralville employees rushed design and engineering work for the new bridge deck. Once those were completed, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors was able to approve a contract last month with Cramer for the work for just under $1 million.

“Everything’s going about as well as we could have hoped and we’re really happy with the bids we received for construction,” Winstead said.

A major factor in keeping the costs low for the county and getting the work done on time is the weather. Cold temperatures or winter storms could cause delays in work and force the county pay for a potentially expensive concrete warming process.

“It just depends on temperatures at the time,” Winstead said. “We’re hopeful that the weather will be mild enough that it won’t be an issue.”

Winstead said, however, the county plans to do all it can to ensure the concrete for the new bridge deck is high quality.

The bridge was estimated to see about 1,800 cars per day in 2014 and is often used as an alternative to Interstate 380.

For timely updates, drivers can follow the Secondary Roads Department on Twitter @JCSecondaryRoad or go to the construction update page.

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