Iowa DOT: Beaver Drive Bridge Needs To Go - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowa DOT: Beaver Drive Bridge Needs To Go

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By: Claire Powell
cpowell@myabc5.com
@clairenpowell 

The Iowa Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting January 14th to discuss a proposed bridge replacement on Beaver Drive.

The Iowa DOT says the bridge is narrow and needs to be replaced.

"The current bridge is 28 foot wide, what we consider functionally obsolete and structurally deficient," said Tony Gustafson, Iowa DOT.

The construction could begin as soon as March of 2016, closing the bridge completely for at least eight months.

The Beaver Drive traffic would be detoured using Johnston Drive, Meredith Drive and Merle Hay Road. Traffic along I-35/80 would be detoured, as needed, overnight from 12 a.m.-5 a.m. using Merle Hay Road, U.S. 6 and U.S. 69.

"The detour itself would run on Meredith, Johnston Drive and Merle Hay would be the north south road. So it's a relatively short detour as far as out of distance traveling for the public," said Gustafson.

However, some business owners who have been in the area for years remember the last time the area was closed for construction and many of them felt the pain.

"It would dramatically affect our business! I've been here for 24 years, been through couple floods. It would dramatically affect our bottom line," said Jeff Stephens, general manager of Stephen's Automotive along Beaver Drive.  

"It would affect us, we draw a number of clients form the northwest corner of Des Moines, so their direct access is by the Beaver bridge," said Doctor Barb Rush, owner of Rush Animal Care Clinic.

The road serves as a main corridor for many heading to and from Des Moines and Johnston.

Less traffic may mean less business and that's something the Iowa DOT will have to address at the public meeting on January 14th.

"I just want to find out if there are any subsidies, anything the city can do to help out small businesses in the area, alternative locations. Just anything they could do to help us out," said Stephens.

The proposed bridge replacement would cost an estimated $7.5 million. The DOT is encouraging anyone with questions to attend the meeting January 14th at Johnston City Hall from 5-6:30 p.m.

For more information on the project visit, www.iowadot.gov/pim

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