Wet underpass raises concern in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wet underpass raises concern in Waterloo

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A constantly soaked stretch of road is putting drivers passing through in dangerous situations. The underpass along Highway 63 in Waterloo will soon go through major reconstruction, solving the water problem for drivers. 

For drivers, traveling through puddles along the U.S. 63 underpass between Dane and Newell streets, is a common sight. Recently, some have expressed their concern after slipping or spinning out as they travel through. 

Lavern Lehman and Jamie Allen were recently on a motorcycle ride when it turned dangerous. They slipped on the water, causing their bike to flip, and both  to fall off. 

"The bike hit it and the back tire just came out from underneath it," said Lehman. "We weren't going fast or anything else. This road has been neglected terribly for the last couple of years."   

It's a situation the Iowa DOT is aware of. They say they've been battling the perpetual ground water problems. Pete Hjelmstad, from the Iowa DOT, says they have drain tile installed in the area. Which leaves the question: What keeps causing the slimy water along the underpass?

"There is a strange phenomenon in this area," said Iowa DOT's Pete Hjelmstad. "The ground water has this micro-organism in it that literally plugs our train tile. We can clean them out, jet them out, and a very short time later they're plugged again. So they don't operate as effectively as they would in normal circumstances."

The DOT has been working on a project that will provide a solution.

Starting this fall, they will be putting in a water-removal system. After the water is removed, they have plans to reconstruct the highway. 

"The big thing that people are going to see...the big difference besides the new highway-is instead of the road going underneath the railroad, the road will go over the railroad," said Hjelmstad. "We will have an overpass-as far as the highway- instead of going underneath it."

The DOT will be starting work in this area this fall. The major part of the project starts next year and is expected to take a total of two years to complete. 

The total cost of the project is $26.4 million. 

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