WATERLOO — Construction crews expect to begin rebuilding U.S. Highway 63 through downtown Waterloo on Monday.

The Iowa Department of Transportation said work on the first phase of a two-year reconstruction project will begin in the morning, weather permitting, and continue at least through 2018.

Langman Construction Inc., of Rock Island, Ill., was awarded the $19.4 million contract to replace pavement on the highway, which utilizes Mullan Avenue and East First Street from Jefferson Street to Franklin Street.

Contractors expect to keep one lane open in each direction for local traffic, but through traffic on U.S. 63 will be detoured around the work zone.

Southbound U.S. 63 traffic will be routed on Airline Highway for three miles west to Airport Boulevard before taking southbound U.S. Highway 218 back to the U.S. 63 interchange. The detour reverses for northbound traffic.

“You can still get through the work zone,” said Pete Hjelmstad, IDOT District 2 field services coordinator. “We’re just encouraging through traffic to take a different route because it’s going to get congested.”

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Ron Loecher, resident construction engineer, said the contractor will originally leave a northbound lane open on First Street and a southbound lane open on Mullan Avenue. Eventually, the local traffic will be either entirely on one street or the other.

The project includes storm sewer work to help alleviate street flooding on the west side of downtown and other improvements. It does not replace the two Cedar River bridges.

The DOT previously reconstructed U.S. 63 from Newell Street to Donald Street. A final phase, expected to be bid in June, would rebuild the highway from Franklin to Newell street and replace the current flood-prone railroad underpass with an overpass.

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution in work zones.

More information about this and other Iowa DOT construction projects in Black Hawk and Bremer counties is on the Black Hawk and Bremer County Construction Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BlackHawkBremerCo#!/BlackHawkBremerCo.

The latest traveler information is available anytime through the 511 system at www.511ia.org; calling 511 within Iowa or (800) 288-1047 nationwide; or by staying connected with 511 on Facebook or Twitter.

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