By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA—Drivers traveling in Ottumwa during the holiday season shouldn’t get slowed down by road construction, barring any unanticipated events that require immediate attention.
Around Ottumwa, drivers will get to keep less of a keen eye on what streets they turn down in order to get around the city thanks to construction completion. Multiple projects have been finished in the past few weeks, such as the work on Maple Avenue and East Court Street, that should keep the roads clear for drivers.
Finishing projects doesn’t mean new ones will be started before Christmas, either. During the cold winter months, a lot of the street construction gets put on hold.
“About the only thing going on is the west end project,” said Scott McCarty, Ottumwa Engineering Department supervisor. “The rest is shut down for the winter.”
The west end project that McCarty spoke about is the 2010 Flood Protection Mitigation Project, which has a portion of McLean Street closed between Gateway Drive and Main Street. The project will eventually make its way down Main Street towards McPherson Avenue, but for the holidays it will stay at the intersection of McLean and Main streets.
Although a portion of McLean Street is closed and Main Street is narrowed to a one-way through the intersection of the two streets, McCarty said there shouldn’t be any other closings in that area next week, unless something unexpected occurs. There is still construction equipment in that area, though, so drivers should be careful when driving down Main Street.
One of the only reasons road workers would have to close a street for construction during Christmas would be if a water main broke underneath the road, according to McCarty. If that was to happen, a portion of the street above the water main would have to be dug through to find the breakage and get it repaired before damage is done. That could cause some sort of road narrowing, if not a closure.
While Ottumwans and travelers from outside of the city may find unavoidable holiday stresses, road construction should not be a factor. But, just because there will not be construction workers on the streets does not mean drivers can take their eyes off the road. Remember, winter weather is always a possibility and could make for treacherous roadways.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh