Hartley bridge project to close highway

Highway 18 west of Hartley is scheduled to be closed for about six months starting Monday, April 6, due to a bridge replacement project. The Iowa Department of Transportation is going to have a two-lane Waterman Creek bridge replaced on the highway just over a mile west of Vine Avenue.

HARTLEY—Part of Highway 18 just west of Hartley is scheduled to be closed for about six months due to a bridge replacement project.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is going to have a two-lane Waterman Creek bridge replaced on the highway just over a mile west of Vine Avenue (O’Brien County road M12), on the western edge of Hartley.

Christensen Bros. Inc. of Cherokee is scheduled to start working Monday, April 6, on the project that will cost more than $1.9 million.

The completion date for the work has been set for Oct. 8, weather permitting.

Dakin Schultz, the DOT’s District 3 transportation planner based in Sioux City, said the crossing that will be replaced was constructed in 1959.

“The condition of the bridge was such that replacement was prudent,” he said.

The project will not include the installation of new approaches and guardrails.

The 125-by-28-foot concrete-slab crossing will be replaced with a concrete-beam bridge that measures 201 feet, 4 inches by 44 feet.

The project will require the closure of Highway 18 in both directions between Tyler Avenue (county road L58) and Vine Avenue.

Starting just east of Sanborn, a detour will take traffic south from Highway 18 on Highway 59 to 360th Street (county road B24).

The detour then will head east on 360th Street to Vine Avenue and travel north to Highway 18 on the western edge of Hartley.

“Traffic would normally drive seven miles in a straight line,” Schultz said. “The route from U.S. 59 to M12 is 15 miles because of the detour.”

O’Brien County engineer Scott Rinehart noted the Highway 18 bridge replacement project will not affect the route for Iowa’s Ride through the county this summer.

Iowa’s Ride is a new weeklong bike ride during which cyclists will commute across the Hawkeye State going from the east to the west.

“They’re not coming across on Highway 18,” Rinehart said. “They’ll never take state roads.”

The new bike ride — started by former organizers of The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) — is set for Sunday-Saturday, July 12-18.

The inaugural Iowa’s Ride is scheduled to start in Dubuque and has stops in Monticello, Vinton, Eldora, Clarion and Emmetsburg before reaching Sheldon on Friday, July 17.

The 416-mile bike ride is set to finish in Rock Rapids.

Rinehart said cyclists who participate in Iowa’s Ride will take a route made up of paved O’Brien County roads as they travel to Sheldon.

He said the route through O’Brien County had not been finalized yet, but he was sure it will avoid the detour for the Highway 18 bridge replacement project.