MUSCATINE — The city closed one lane of the recently renovated Mississippi Drive last week to adjust a median in front of Pearlview Condominiums and the new Merrill Hotel and Conference Center.
After a portion of Mississippi Drive reopened to traffic, Iowa Avenue became the main street for vehicles to access or exit the roadway. When driving on Iowa Avenue toward the river, vehicles turning right onto Mississippi Drive encounter a median, which was placed to separate the roadway from a hotel drop-off lane, according to Public Works Director Brian Stineman.
"It was an observation that based on vehicles turning right there, it became obvious that something needed to be done differently," Stineman said. "Trucks weren't able to make the turn."
City Engineer Jim Edgmond said the six-inch curb was also too high for buses to pass. Last week, K.E. Flatworks reduced the curb to around two inches, so that if necessary, vehicles can drive over the median and onto Mississippi Drive.
And while the adjustment affected the hotel's drop-off lane, Edgmond said the hotel developers were not part of the decision. The work will be paid by the city through a change order under the contract, he said, and is estimated to cost less than $5,000.
"It's about the buses, and so it (can be run over) by buses and trucks," he said. "It has nothing at all to do with people figuring out where that hotel entrance is."
Stineman said paint-striping and other work may still be done in the area.
He added future work may be needed at the intersection with Pine Street, where a similar problem arises when trucks attempt to make the turn onto Mississippi Drive. But he said the problem should be solved when the entire road is reopened to truck traffic.
"No trucks should ever be on Pine Street," Edgmond said.
And Stineman added adjustments, like lowering the median, are common after expansive projects, such as the reconstruction of Mississippi Drive.
"Once we get the whole street open and get access to vehicles through there, I think a lot of these things we're worried about now may go away," he said. "Once it becomes a straight-shot for trucks, it should become a good roadway."
Sometime in the next month, Stineman said the city plans to once again entirely close Mississippi Drive, so crews can finish painting, landscaping and placing street lights and signs. The city will notify residents before the closure takes place, he said.