The reconstruction of State Highways 49 and 161 will be only a minor inconvenience for Iola area residents.
The roadway will not be closed, but parking on Main Street will be restricted during the project.
Termed a preventative maintenance project, work is scheduled to begin Monday, May 6, and should be completed by the end of May, according to Project Manager Jeff Stewart.
The road work was originally set to begin April 26, but was delayed due to the late spring. According to Stewart, the contractor has 20 work days to complete the project.
Stewart represented the Wisconsin Department of Transportation at a public information meeting Monday, April 22, in Iola. Also in attendance were: Bryan Fay, staff engineer for K. Singh & Associates, Inc., and Dustin Albert, project superintendent for American Asphalt.
The project will begin on State 49 by Anderson Road north of Iola and continue down Main and State streets through the village all the way to County Road J, just west of F+W.
“The road will be open the entire time,” Stewart said. “It should just be a minor inconvenience.”
He noted there may be short periods of time when some driveways could be blocked due to equipment being in the way. Also, the new blacktop will need time to dry.
The reconstruction includes bringing the roadway up to state highway standards, according to Stewart.
Project cost is approximately $611,500. The village of Iola is paying $42,922 for the cost of the parking lanes.
“The road surface is deteriorating to the point it needs to be resurfaced,” he said. “If you wait too long, it costs more.”
The reconstruction involves replacing the top two inches of the road surface and adding three feet of blacktop to the width of the highway.
Currently State 49 has a five-foot gravel shoulder. This will be replaced with three feet of blacktop and two feet of gravel.
“The shoulders will be the same width they are now,” Stewart said.
The project includes 37 feet of curbing near the Iola Post Office on Main Street in the village of Iola. The sidewalk will be closed for about a week during this work.
Village President Joel Edler asked if the project included fixing the drainage problem in front of the post office. He noted the ponding can get bad enough that pedestrians cannot use the crosswalk and cars cannot use the parking spaces.
“I’m sure that will be addressed when we mill,” Albert said.
According to project plans, a handicap parking space will be moved and a parking spot will be eliminated on the corner of Main and State streets.
Crews will begin May 5 by milling the road surface and digging out the culvert on State 49 near the intersection with Anderson Road in the town of Iola.
There may be some minor road closures during the culvert work.
Milling of the roadway will continue south into the village of Iola, with flagmen directing traffic during the day and the roadway open at night.
Albert expects paving to begin in the village by the week of May 13. Crews will pave against the traffic one lane at a time starting at the center of the intersection of State 161 on the north side of Iola and working north toward Anderson Road.
“There might be some minor delays,” Albert said.
By Friday, May 17, paving should begin in the village and proceed south to County J.
During the road construction, ‘no parking’ signs will be set and people will be advised to park on side streets within the village limits.
“The majority of the work should be done by May 26,” Albert said.
He noted there may still be some sign and pavement marking after that date.