By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
JOHNSON COUNTY– A trip between Solon and North Liberty will take a little more time when a reconstruction project on Mehaffey Bridge Road gears up this spring.
The North Liberty City Council received an update on the planned upgrade from City Engineer Kevin Trom, of Shive Hattery Architecture and Engineering. The council approved the city’s 28E agreement with Johnson County for cost-sharing on the project.
The two lanes on the existing roadway between North Liberty and Mehaffey Bridge measure 11 feet each; when the widening is complete, the road will be two 12-foot lanes with four-foot paved shoulders, similar to the current section that stretches from Sugar Bottom Road to Solon. Trom said the resurfacing process is a cold, in-place recycling process, a faster and more cost-effective method of rebuilding asphalt roads. It allows use of the existing aggregate, reducing the need for new asphalt, and provides a high-quality surface.
“It will be a really good section for that roadway,” Trom said. A traffic count study indicated the road gets used by about 3,410 vehicles per day.
North Liberty is responsible for improvements on Front Street from Penn to the city limits, which will also include a new turn lane off Mehaffey Bridge Road into the Cedar Springs residential subdivision across from South Slope Cooperative Communications. Johnson County is responsible for improvements from North Liberty city limits to Chael Drive, about a half mile east past Mehaffey Bridge. The city’s estimated cost obligation is $1,010,000 for design and construction, and the county will spend an estimated $1.525 million. The project is scheduled to go out for bids in April. North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar said North Liberty will likely fund its portion of the project through a combination of a general obligation bond and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues.
Mehaffey Bridge is currently under construction, as the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved the replacement of the 60-year-old bridge last February. It is expected the bridge and road improvements will be completed by the end of 2014.
In all phases of the planned construction, engineers have planned to keep the road open to vehicles, using flaggers and pilot cars for traffic control. Trom said the Department of Transportation expects North Liberty’s improvements will take about two months to complete.
Trom said the county is planning to hold a public meeting in early May to inform people of the details of the upcoming road construction, as well as updates on the bridge replacement project.