OTTUMWA — Two of Ottumwa’s busiest downtown roads are set to get a makeover in the near future, as plans are pretty much finished for the conversion of Main and Second streets to two-way traffic.
According to Ottumwa’s Public Works Department Director Larry Seals, all of the planning work for the conversion has been finalized, and all of the new signs have been ordered.
He said they are expecting the beginning of the conversion to start the week of May 12, with lines being painted, signs being turned or switched, intersections being touched up and other little work that needs to be done.
They will also be taking out some of the stoplights downtown, like the one that has recently been replaced by stop signs at the intersection of Washington and Main streets.
The two-way conversion will be placed permanently on Second and Main streets between Jefferson Street and Kitterman Avenue, but from Kitterman to McPherson Avenue the streets will only be two-way temporarily.
The project has been widely discussed for many years by Ottumwans, but due to the construction under the Flood Protection Mitigation Project, portions of both Main and Second streets were going to have to be switched to two-way for a limited amount of time. That’s when city department heads, organization and business leaders and others around the community decided maybe it was time to think about making the switch permanent.
Several public information meetings were held so city officials could learn more about how community members felt about the conversion, and based on public input it was decided Kitterman Avenue would be the dividing point.
However, according to Seals, the business owners and residents on the west side of town that were against the switch to two-way will have to deal with it temporarily as crews can finish the Flood Protection Mitigation Project in that part of the city. He said the work should be completed sometime in late July or early August, as long as the weather allows, and the streets will be changed back to one-way.