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Ely Road construction to bring detours

Roundabout at Hwy. 382 intersection coming this season

SOLON– Everyone’s favorite route between Solon and Cedar Rapids will be the subject of extensive construction this year.
Two more phases of an Ely Road (W6E) overhaul are planned for this season, including the conversion of its intersection with Highway 382 into a three-way roundabout.
Following the completion of the roundabout, the Johnson County Secondary Roads Department plans to proceed with the paving of three-quarters of a mile of Ely Road from the intersection north to 140th Street NE, adjacent to the Lakeview OHV park.
The roundabout (Phase 3) will cost an estimated $900,000, with the stretch to 140th Street (Phase 4) tabbed at approximately $2.5 million. Both will require road closures for through traffic on Ely Road, although access for Highway 382 will be maintained, according to Assistant Johnson County Engineer Ed Bartels.
“Traffic on Highway 382 during Phase 3 work will be reduced at times to alternating one-lane, controlled by traffic signals,” Bartels noted via email. “This is necessary to provide emergency and resident access to properties west of Ely Road, which is essentially a dead end. The length of time the signals and alternating one-lane traffic are in place will be minimized to the extent possible.”
The two Ely Road projects are part of the Secondary Roads Department’s Five-Year Construction Program presented to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at a March 23 meeting. The board is scheduled to vote on the plan at an April 6 session.
The plan for 2017 also includes the $2.65 million Mehaffey Bride Road Trail, a two-mile stretch of separated pedestrian/bicycle path between North Liberty and Mehaffey Bridge.
A final two-mile section of Ely Road will be on the calendar for 2018, at an estimated cost of $4.2 million, while the resurfacing of both 140th Street between Highway 1 and Sutliff Road, and 120th Street from the county line to the western edge of Swisher, are on the list of projects for 2019.
First up will be the continuation of Ely Road improvements.
The first phase began at the Linn County border and extended just four-10ths of a mile southward. During the same general time frame, Linn County put an 8-inch concrete overlay on the portion between the northern Ely city limits and Cedar Rapids.
Johnson County will start 2017 with the roundabout, and County Engineer Greg Parker said he’s hopeful it will be complete before the snow flies.
The roundabout was one of the options being considered for the intersection with Highway 382. The other given serious consideration was making the intersection a three-way stop, but Parker said the roundabout was the most sustainable.
Construction costs would have been similar, he said, but the roundabout would serve future needs better as the area continues to grow.
Parker said the county is still negotiating right-of-way for the intersection project, but most of the construction plans are ready.
Early summer is a “fair estimate” for the construction of the roundabout to begin, said Bartels.
Bartels said once drawings are finalized, the county will host a public information meeting on the roundabout plan.
“We generally try to hold it somewhere central to stakeholders for the project,” he noted.
The time, date and location of the open house will be shared via Twitter, press release and on the county website as soon as it is scheduled, he added.
“We intend to have information available regarding how to correctly drive a roundabout, which may benefit young, inexperienced drivers or those that may not have encountered them before,” he stated.
The rehabilitation of the road from the roundabout to 140th Street may also cause some inconvenience for motorists, but Bartels said the county might bump up some culvert work in order to minimize the disruption to traffic.
A marked detour is expected for any through-traffic closures, he said, with portable road messaging signs set up near the project.
The final phase, in 2018, will comprise the remaining stretch and will include flood mitigation efforts along with the raising of the road to 1 1/2 feet above the record level flood of 2008.
The intersection of Ely Road and 140th Street will also be reconstructed to accommodate turning tractor-trailers, he said.
The bridge over Lingle Creek will not require repair or replacement, Bartels noted, but the overall project will address a number of new box culverts, most notably major ones near Upmeier Farms and Lakeview OHV park.