Commuters Beware: Major Detour - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Commuters Beware: Major Detour

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Jessica Daley

jdaley@myabc5.com

@TheDaleyReport

The Grand Avenue Bridge on 63rd and Grand in Des Moines was supposed to be replaced last year, but a delay in moving utilities caused the whole project to be pushed back. Now, starting Monday, March 25, commuters should be ready to find an alternate route.

On a cold windy afternoon, it's hard to believe in just one month sand volleyball courts near the bridge will be packed.

"We're running 1,000 people a night through here," said the owner of The Sands Mike Sprecher. He said the seven-month bridge closure will be a hassle for customers but doesn't expect it to drive them away.
 
"We're kind of a destination spot. If it is a problem, maybe delaying start times, for like, especially for softball with those 6pm games."

The driveway to The Sands is just next to the 99-year-old bridge which needs to be completely replaced. That means crews will demolish the whole bridge and cast a new one in its place.
 
"There are not too many bridges that make that age with the amount of abuse essentially because of the salt and the traffic," said Des Moines City Engineer Jeb Brewer.

The bridge is handling a much heavier load than a century ago and a lot more cars - 18,000 a day.

If all goes well, the plan is to open three lanes in September with the whole project to wrap up before winter.

"The total closure time this year will be less than what we anticipated last year," Brewer said. "And that's because we did do some work last year in preparation for this year."
 
Detour signs will be posted, which will take traffic up to University to bypass the bridge.

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