Route 3 work kicks into gear

Workers lay down new asphalt on Route 3 in Waterloo after the old road surface was removed last week. (Alan Dooley photo)

Motorists traveling Route 3 in Waterloo during the day last week probably encountered flaggers as workers removed the old surface in preparation for new paving efforts.

It’s all part of the Route 3 improvement project that involves 4.3 miles of roadway from North Market to South Market streets in two phases, plus the relocation of Vandebrook Drive. The current two-lane highway is being reconstructed into a four-lane thoroughfare similar to what is currently seen between Columbia and Waterloo.

Other features of the project include a roundabout just west of Route 3 on Park Street near the Monroe County Farm Bureau office, a stoplight at Illinois Avenue, and a 10-foot-wide shared use path for walkers and bicyclists near Library Street.

The current work begins efforts to shift traffic to the east side of Route 3. During the milling and placing of asphalt, Route 3 will be reduced to one lane of traffic with flaggers, Illinois Department of Transportation engineer Brad Floerke said.

Once traffic is shifted, there will be two lanes of traffic for drivers as the existing shoulder will be used as one of the driving lanes. Weather permitting, the contractor plans to continue paving asphalt until the end of next week, Floerke said, so motorists should be prepared for delays.

Β Once traffic has been shifted, Floerke said, the contractor will then begin working on the west side of Route 3, removing existing shoulders and adding new lanes, moving dirt, extending culverts and installing storm sewers.

“This work will last approximately one year,” Floerke said.

As for the Vandebrook portion of the project, Floerke said the area from just north of South Market to a half mile south of South Market will also see milling and paving, but it will only take about two weeks to complete.

“Then they will also be working on the west side of Route 3 — widening, earthwork, etc. They will also be paving on the new Vandebrook alignment,” Floerke said.

The new Vandebrook alignment and signals will not be opened to traffic until close to the end of 2014, Floerke explained.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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