Rumors and confusion have some thinking the opening of the new bridge being built at Sabula — Iowa’s only island city — is being delayed yet again.
But an Iowa Department of Transportation official said a recent rush of concerned callers was assured the bridge construction is on target or very close.
“We’re still hoping for Labor Day,” said Sam Shea, transportation planner for the Iowa DOT. “It could be a day or two off because of recent flooding.”
The lost construction time is because of floodwaters in the area of the new bridge, which will reconnect Iowa’s only island city — home to about 500 people — to the 2-mile causeway that leads to the much bigger bridge over the Mississippi River and into Savanna, Ill.
The previous span was deemed unsafe and was closed to traffic in February. The Iowa DOT initially estimated a replacement would be finished by the end of May. The finish date then was extended to mid-July. Now it’s September.
“There’s been some terminology confusion,” Shea said last week. “The bridge will open to traffic much sooner than the project completion date.”
When vehicles are permitted onto the new span, he said, contractors will continue to work on portions of the project related to the shore.
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“There’s been a mad flurry of phone calls to the DOT,” he said. “The contractor hopes to get back to work today, and I’ve been told they don’t expect the flooding to set them back too far.”
Meanwhile, Sabula residents have firmed up plans for a two-day event dubbed Island City Days. Visitors may access the island from Route 64 or by using the vehicle and pedestrian ferry between the island and the Savanna riverfront.
The community celebration begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 with a parade, followed by outdoor food, drink and live music. It continues at 7 a.m. Aug. 4 with a pancake breakfast at the fire station, then ski shows, live music, food and drink and fireworks at dusk.