- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Repairs are underway on the Julien Dubuque Bridge in preparation for a larger project that will close the bridge for 10 days later this month.

Work underneath the bridge has already begun, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1t6GPWj ). It includes repairs to concrete, piers and fenders that protect the bridge from boat strikes.

Work planned for later in the month should not interfere with boat or barge traffic on the Mississippi River, Iowa Department of Transportation construction engineer Hugh Holak said.

“We are working out particulars with the Coast Guard right now, but shouldn’t have much of an impact on river traffic,” he said.

The bridge is set to close July 21 and reopen Aug. 1.

During that time, workers will replace deck joints, requiring the removal of a 6-foot span of the bridge, and seal the barrier rail.

The company handling the project, PCiRoads of Minnesota, has 10 days to complete the repairs or pay a hefty penalty every day past the deadline, Holak said.

“It’s substantial enough to encourage them” to get the work done on time, he said.

During the closure, motorists wanting to cross into East Dubuque will have to take the Iowa-Wisconsin bridge and loop down into Illinois.

Officials had originally planned to have the work completed by Memorial Day, but the state Transportation Department delayed the project after an East Dubuque, Illinois, farm fertilizer company raising concerns about the bridge being closed during its busy season, which coincides with crop planting from mid-April to early June.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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