Highway 59 roadwork behind schedule

General contractor Mathy Construction Co. of Onalaska, WI, is behind on resurfacing Highway 59 in O’Brien County. Subcontractor Midwest Contractors Inc. of Cedar Falls is taking care of patchwork on the two-lane road inside the city limits of Primghar.

REGIONAL—Resurfacing work on a nearly 13-mile stretch of Highway 59 in O’Brien County is behind sched­­ule.

Work on the two-lane highway began on April 15 just north of the road’s intersection with Highway 10 east of Paullina and will continue north through Primghar to the junction with Highway 18.

General contractor Mathy Construction Co. of Onalaska, WI, started with 105 working days during which it had to finish resurfacing Highway 59 as part of the approximately $6.75 million project.

“They’re not on schedule,” said Steve McElmeel, the resident construction engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Cherokee office.

“They came in earlier than the late start date this spring and got some work done,” he said. “Then they moved out.”

The DOT has been charging Mathy Construction working days for the past about four weeks, but not for days on which wet weather would have kept the company from doing work, if it had been in the area to do so.

“They were supposed to come back in about a month ago,” McElmeel said. “They have been gone for at least a month. When they come back in, they’re going to have to work pretty hard.”

The first part of the resurfacing project was patchwork along Highway 59 outside of Primghar’s city limits and was followed by the milling of the road’s shoulders.

The resurfacing work by Mathy Construction on the highway outside of Primghar’s city limits will use a cold in-place recycling process.

“The original schedule had them coming in on May 20 to start the cold in-place recycling,” McElmeel said. “We suspended charging working days until June 3 because they had come in early already.”

That process involves a 3-inch hot mix asphalt intermediate lift and then a 4-inch hot mix asphalt surface lift placed on top of that.

Mathy Construction is scheduled to start working on that part of the resurfacing project by the end of July.

“The asphalt outside of town is what I’m worried about,” McElmeel said. “They knew they had other projects to work on this spring. They’re just behind on other projects and have not been over here.

“They’re working on other projects, but there’s been wet weather everywhere,” he said. “They’ve just been rained out elsewhere. It’s a common problem for a lot of our contractors.”

Midwest Contractors Inc. of Cedar Falls, a subcontractor of Mathy Construction’s, is taking care of patchwork on Highway 59 inside Primghar’s city limits.

“They’re not too far behind on the patching,” McElmeel said.

A dowel bar retrofit construction process and a diamond-tipped grinder will be used on this part of the resurfacing project to make sure concrete panels are tightly fastened at the joints.

McElmeel said that work in particular should make travel smoother for motorists who drive on the highway in Primghar after the resurfacing project has been completed.

A pilot vehicle to guide traffic down a single lane, construction zone flaggers, and orange cones and signs are being used while Highway 59 is being resurfaced.

If the entire resurfacing proj­ect had been on schedule, it had been set to be done by early September, weather permitting.

“That schedule does not take into account any weather delays,” McElmeel said. “It’ll more likely be mid- to late October. Now if we keep getting rain like we’re getting, who knows?”