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MUSCATINE — Warmer than average weather in late November is helping boost the completion of fall construction work around Muscatine.

With the Canadian Pacific Railway on site at railroad crossings on Mississippi Drive this week, city leaders hope to reopen a portion of the road by early next month. Public Works Director Brian Stineman said the city is looking to reopen Mississippi Drive, from Iowa Avenue to Broadway Street, on Dec. 8.

"We're trying to wrap up for the season," Stineman said. "If the weather stays warm, we'll obviously get more done before we move to underground work."

The city awarded KE Flatworks the $8 million contract for the major Mississippi Drive Corridor project in April. This year, portions of the road, from Sycamore to Pine streets, then from Pine to Broadway streets, have been repaved. Crews, in addition, have reconstructed parking spots and medians, and some landscaping work has already began.

To help the city get a head-start on the third phase of the project this winter, Stineman said a main goal is completing the railroad crossings. Signal crews from the Canadian Pacific Railway have been working at the Iowa Avenue and Cedar Street intersections since last week, according to the city.

Temporary fencing should be placed near the pedestrian crossings, and the railway will install new cross arms in coordination with the city's "Quiet Zone" project.

The Canadian Pacific Railway and the city are working together to create quiet zones at train crossings in Muscatine, from upriver of the Iowa 92 bridge to downriver of Carver Corner. As part of the project, new technology will inform engineers not to blow train horns in the quiet zones, and a new traffic light system will warn drivers when to stop at the crossings.

Stineman said the city hopes to have crossing work done at the Iowa Avenue intersection before late December, otherwise, the intersection will be a temporary three-way stop. According to the city, the Cedar Street crossing should be done by the end of the year.

Once Mississippi Drive, from Iowa Avenue to Broadway Street, opens next month, the city can move to the third phase of the project. Over the winter, Stineman said crews will begin tearing up pavement and placing underground utilities from Iowa Avenue to Mulberry Avenue.

During the winter, the intersections of Sycamore, Walnut and Cedar streets, along with the Cedar Street railroad crossing, will be closed, according to the city. An area around Mulberry Avenue, however, will remain opened to allow access for HNI Corporation.

West Hill Sewer Separation Project

The latest phase in Muscatine's West Hill Sewer Separation Project was completed last week, as the city reopened East 5th Street.

Hagerty Earthworks completed the nearly $5 million phase of the project, which included repaving the 4th Street Park area, plus East 5th Street and the intersections at Iowa Avenue, Sycamore Street and Cedar Street.

On Wednesday, East 5th Street opened to traffic, which Stineman said means the majority of work in the area is done for the winter.

Next, Stineman said, crews will begin the fourth phase of the project, which includes three different parts. The initial portion will include sewer work and repaving on 7th Street, from Cedar to Locust streets, according to Stineman.

He said the design for the fourth phase could go to bid by March.