Bridge work

One lane over the river -- Norbert Beckey Bridge construction to tie things up for more than 2 months

2013-07-23T18:00:00Z 2013-07-23T21:50:13Z One lane over the river -- Norbert Beckey Bridge construction to tie things up for more than 2 monthsCynthia Beaudette 563-262-0527 Muscatine Journal

MUSCATINE, Iowa - Motorists using the Norbert Beckey Bridge between Muscatine's Iowa and Illinois banks are following the instructions every kindergartner is asked to heed.

"Everyone take your turn."

And they'll be doing just that for a couple more months.

Steve Covemaker of General Constructors Inc. in Bettendorf, said that the company is contracting with the Iowa and Illinois Departments of Transportation to restructure the nine expansion joints and two abutments on the bridge. That means the structure will be pared down to 1 lane until at least Sept. 25.

There is an approximately 3-minute turn around time for motorists waiting to cross the bridge, which is part of Iowa Highway 92, as they wait for the lane to clear, said Covemeyer.

General Constructors began working on the 42-year-old bridge July 8 and is tentatively scheduled to be finished by Sept. 25, said Covemeyer, barring rain and other weather issues.

Recently, the biggest issue has been the heat.

While Wednesday's unseasonably cool 74-degree weather brought some relief, Covemeyer said his crew dealt with intense heat last week.

"On Thursday and Friday, the ambient temperature was 93 degrees," said Covemeyer. "But I put my concrete thermometer on the deck and it was 109."

The General Constructors crew starts their day around 5 a.m. and works until early afternoon to beat the heat said Covemeyer, but whether they are there or not, the one-lane traffic continues 24-hours with a barrier to the west lane and stop lights at each end of the bridge.

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