Clay County Engineer Scott Rinehart indicated that work on the joint county/city west beltway project is on target for phase one completion yet this summer.
"It was decided to build this project in two phases," Rinehart explained. "Phase one is on the south end of the project, from 360th Street north approximately 3,500-feet across the Ocheyedan River, tying into the existing gravel road."
Phase two will include reconstructing the industrial park mile making it a three-lane urban design with curb and gutter. The remaining 4.25 miles will be resurfaced with Portland cement concrete and will have 10-foot granular mixture shoulders.
When phase one is complete this summer, it will be opened as a gravel road until it is paved in phase two.
"As a gravel road, it will be posted with a reduced speed limit because we anticipate high traffic count and some challenges to keeping the road surface as smooth as we would like it," Rinehart said. "We also anticipate some dust control issues and some difficulty in keeping it passable during wet periods."
He continued, "If the traffic counts are high and it is determined safety and serviceability are not being maintained, we will close the road to through traffic until conditions are more favorable or until it is paved. If we do close it we will barricade it at the new bridge to assure no through traffic can get through."
The West Beltway Project is a joint project between Clay County and the city of Spencer as equal partners. Federal funding is expected to cover up to 80 percent of the total project costs.
This project was conceived years ago when the state of Iowa dropped its plan to create a Highway 71 bypass around the west side of Spencer.
The city of Spencer and Clay County governmental bodies agreed it was for the common good to build a better route for trucks to access the industrial park from Highway 71 and for better general traffic movement around the west side of Spencer.
The west beltway is designed using 200th Avenue, between Highway 18 and 360th Street, or "Menards Road," as the main corridor.