OTTUMWA — Before the two-way street conversion in downtown Ottumwa went into effect, some community members were quoted saying it was going to be a demolition derby of sorts. However, according to Police Chief Tom McAndrew, it’s been a safe transition so far.
“As of [Wednesday], we haven’t had any accidents because of it,” he said. “It’s not nearly the chaos people thought there would be.”
The two-way conversion started Monday with Second Street and was finished Tuesday on Main Street with crews from the Ottumwa Street Department painting lines and unveiling new signage.
Though the portions of Main and Second streets from Jefferson Street to Kitterman Avenue will be left two-way permanently, the part of Second Street west of Kitterman Avenue will only be a temporary conversion.
According to Public Works Department Director Larry Seals, Second Street between McLean Street and McPherson Avenue will be temporarily switched to two-way because of repaving work being done on Main Street due to the Flood Protection Mitigation Project. Once that project is completed, Second Street west of Kitterman Avenue will be changed back to one-way.
Drivers are cautioned to pay attention to the changes from two-way to one-way in that part of the city, because it could get a little confusing in the next few weeks.
Although McAndrew said drivers have been very cooperative and attentive with the new two-ways, there have been some who accidentally drove or parked the wrong way. But, thankfully, that hasn’t led to any accidents or bad situations.
“Cars have been going the wrong way, but people have been good about getting around them,” he said.
He also mentioned that from what he’s seen, people have been driving a little slower down Main and Second streets in the past few days, and hopefully that can continue into the future.