All lanes of Highway 63 reopen in downtown Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

All lanes of Highway 63 reopen in downtown Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Traffic flow is back to normal on Highway 63 through downtown Waterloo, with all six lanes open on Mullan Avenue and First Street. Drivers are no longer navigating through a maze of cones and closed streets.

The construction, which started early this summer, is part of a two-year project to re-do Highway 63 through the city.

During phase one, the Iowa DOT closed Mullan Avenue, forcing drivers to one lane in each direction on First Street.

Businesses like Legends Sports Grill say they took a hit during the construction, and many of their regular customers are happy to see Mullan Avenue is back open.

"It can get frustrating sometimes trying to navigate, especially during the busy times with added traffic. You try and find the quickest route and other people have already figured out the route, so you are waiting there, too. It is nice to have it open," said driver, Antonio Muniz.

Hawkeye Alarm was first cut off from the highway traffic and then experienced high traffic volumes, as cars were diverted in front of their business at the corner of Mullan Avenue and Commercial Street. Hawkeye Alarm's Ross Samek says the change was a nice surprise.

"It just changed in the middle of the day. We were coming back and all the cones were changed, and it was two-way traffic again," said Samek.

But Samek says they were luckier than some businesses.

"Actually, with the other business, it was tough on them because they are selling cars and working on cars," said Samek. Their customers had a hard time getting to their location during this summer's construction.

While the change means easier commutes, many say their excitement stems from the many close calls they had during construction.

"A lot of people, if you are driving down here for the first time, you are confused, so you don't know where to go. I have definitely had some close calls," said Muniz.

All lanes will remain open during the winter. The DOT will start phase two of the project in the spring. During construction, First Street will be closed and all traffic will be diverted to Mullan Avenue.

The project is expected to be finished in November 2018.
     

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