Highway 9 west of Rock Rapids

Highway 9 running west from Rock Rapids to Larchwood will soon undergo an asphalt resurfacing project that is part of the Iowa Department of Transportation's 2020 Highway Program. The late start date for the resurfacing project is Aug. 19, and it is expected to last until 2020.

REGIONAL—The section of Highway 9 that runs between Rock Rapids and Larchwood will soon undergo a resurfacing project expected to last until 2020.

Dakin Schultz, District 3 transportation planner for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said the hot mix asphalt project will begin in August.

Schultz said the project will go from the west corporate limits of Larchwood to Fairlamb Street in Rock Rapids, a distance of about 14 miles. Two layers of hot mix asphalt will be laid down.

The project is part of the DOT’s 2020 Highway Program, which is in turn part of the department’s 2020-24 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program.

“That is our document that we utilize to identify the construction projects for the next five years,” Schultz said. “Obviously, as you get out toward that, you know, three, four, five years, things could change, right?”

The Highway 9 project was added to the program in June, but Schultz said it is typical for the DOT to put asphalt resurface-style projects into the program about a year before construction.

The bid letting for the project was held July 16. Schultz said two contractors, Henningsen Construction Inc. and Duininck Inc., bid on the project. Henningsen was the low bid at $6.84 million while Duininck was the high bid at $6.9 million.

Since the amount set aside for the project was $5.36 million, Schultz said the department will likely do a bid review as early as next week.

"It would go to a low bid as long as the bid review comes out OK," he said. "You know, with that high a bid, that much over, I don't know what the process is exactly."

The late start date for the project meanwhile is set for Aug. 19.

“We typically do not put a late start date in that fall of these types of projects. We typically give that option to the contractor,” Schultz said.

However, he said the department wanted to move up the start date for the contractor to begin work on the Highway 9 project before winter.

A maintenance crew with the DOT had been doing patching work on the highway over the spring to address some of the roadway conditions, but Schultz said the amount of work required would have been a lot for that crew to handle before winter.

The highway still will be open to drivers while construction is underway, but Schultz said a pilot car operation will shuttle drivers through the construction zone along one lane.

“So plan according,” he said.