Construction to start on Highway 63 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Construction to start on Highway 63

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Major changes are coming to a well-traveled highway in Waterloo. Come Monday, March 5th, Highway 63 in Waterloo will be closed from Franklin St. to Newell St. for construction.

The Iowa DOT will begin their reconstruction project of US 63, which will solve the problem of water collecting on the road under the train bridge. 

"When this highway needed reconstructing, we knew that we were not going to come in here and reconstruct this highway and still be left with that water problem," said Iowa DOT's Pete Hjelmstad. 

Instead, they've put in a permanent water removal system.

Over the next 2 years, the DOT will be building a highway over the railroad, replacing the current underpass. 

In the meantime, traffic will be shut down from Franklin to Newell. The DOT will also be shutting down the pedestrian bridge.

"We are detouring through traffic," said Hjelmstad. "People who are traveling through 63 in Waterloo, they'll be detoured. On the north end, they will take airline highway to the west. The airport boulevard a little bit south, get on 218, go south, and then hook back up with 63. So that will be the detour for through traffic. "

Hjelmstad says local traffic, including local businesses and resident will still have access, just not directly under the bridge. 

However, some are concerned that the railroad tracks, which cross over the side streets near 63 will complicate detour routes.

Allen Hospital, who says they see at least a thousand people coming in everyday, has been working with the DOT to come up with alternate routes.

"Getting people here quickly, who need to be here quickly," said UnityPoint Marketing Communications Managers Carson Tigges.  "And sometimes minutes save lives. So it's communication, getting people to the right place at the right time. Making sure they know where to go."

The hospital has been working with local ambulances and smaller volunteer EMS departments to make sure they're prepared with an alternate route. 

The bridge project is expected to take two years, with a completion date of late November 2019. 

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