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WATERLOO — The Iowa Department of Transportation received a single bid on plans to turn a flood-prone U.S. Highway 63 railroad underpass into an overpass.

Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck bid a little more than $26.4 million Tuesday on the project, which would rebuild the highway between Franklin and Newell streets and erect a landscape-changing bridge over the Canadian National Railway tracks.

Pete Hjelmstad, IDOT District 2 field services coordinator, said the bid was within the project estimates. Pending a signed contract, PCI would begin by installing a temporary dewatering system in the fall and is expected to complete work by the end of 2019.

Traffic will be detoured around the overpass section starting in 2018.

The highway currently dips under the Canadian National Railway between Dane and Newell streets and has been plagued by groundwater flooding for decades.

The proposed project installs a new groundwater mitigation system, fills in the underpass and constructs new mechanically stabilized earthen walls as a bridge over the railroad. The railroad tracks and an existing pedestrian highway crossing would become “tunnels” through the overpass.

Other elements of the contract include replacing the pavement from Franklin to Newell; installing water, storm and sanitary sewer lines; new signals and lighting; and putting in recreational trails.

While the project is largely funded with federal and state highway dollars, the city of Waterloo will be picking up a share of the utility and trail portions. City Engineer Eric Thorson said the city also plans a future contract for another multi-use trail and enhancements.

The overpass is the final stage of an overall rebuilding of U.S. 63 from downtown Waterloo north to Donald Street, near UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital, which involved buying out 26 homes and businesses in the corridor.

The first phase, a $10 million reconstruction of the highway from Newell north to Donald, started in 2013 and wrapped up in 2016.

Langman Construction Inc. of Rock Island, Ill., is currently working on a $19.4 million second phase to rebuild the highway — the one-way couplet of Mullan Avenue and East First Street — from Jefferson Street to Franklin.

Both the Langman and PCI portions of the project are expected to be under construction during the 2018 construction season.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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