OTTUMWA — Two public information meetings held this week have garnered quite a bit of discussion — and concern — about traffic and businesses in north and downtown Ottumwa.
On Thursday, Public Works Director Larry Seals and City Engineer Dan Sturm met with members of the community who will be impacted by the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project.
Local business owners, residents and even some Ottumwa Regional Health Center officials were on hand to discuss the project, which will hopefully get started in mid- to late March, according to Sturm, and last until fall.
Some of the areas of concern highlighted by guests in attendance included the temporary access points for the businesses on Pennsylvania Avenue, the detour routes that will have to be used, new sidewalks and where the street will have to be widened. There were also a lot of questions about whether certain services, like school bus stops, will have to be changed or delayed.
“We are working with the school, post office and garbage company to make sure the services continue,” Sturm said.
The project will cover the portion of Pennsylvania Avenue from Jefferson Street to Brentwood Drive and is a continuation of the work that has already been done on Pennsylvania Avenue from Highway 63 to Brentwood Drive. It involves a total reconstruction of the road, widening on both sides to accommodate a center turn lane, changing sewer lines and increasing the storm sewer capacity.
Construction crews will also add a right-turn lane on Elm Street and smooth out the intersection of Elm Street and Pennsylvania Avenue by taking out the slight hump that currently exists and straightening Pennsylvania Avenue to take out the existing slight S-curve. Sturm said they are also looking at possibly taking out the stop on Pennsylvania Avenue at the Elm Street intersection, making that intersection a two-way stop.