Rain delays causing roadwork to continue in O’Brien County


People are racking up the miles with summer travel, but travelers in one Siouxland community are hitting the breaks for some orange cones. Traffic is down to one lane on highway 59 in O’Brien county, adding 15 to 20 minutes to some folks daily commute.

“Highway 59 for the past year for sure has been really rough,” said Allen Schuknecht the O’Brien County Sheriff.

The thirteen mile stretch of highway connecting Paulina and Primghar is getting resurfaced, a project that started in early May.

“A lot of time we might be driving over the speed limit to get to an emergency and we have to hang on because it shakes you,” said Schuknecht.

People in town say its a long-overdue project for the rugged roadway.

“Right now it’s better to travel on the gravel than it is to try and travel on the blacktop,” said Primghar resident Roxanne Logan.

While the progress is encouraging, construction is causing a lot of folks delays.

“In Primghar were patching so their down to a single lane alternating single lanes,” said Steve McElmeel with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

“It takes seven minutes for me to get home and now we’re looking at fifteen to twenty minutes to get home,” said Logan.

It’s why many people have found alternate routes to avoid the highway on their way home, something they may have to do even longer.

“I think the weather has been a factor in all of the jobs when scheduling. I would say it has been a little more server than most it has become the new normal but the weather has played a factor in their schedule,” said McElmeel.

The Iowa Department of Transportation saying rain delays have the project a month behind schedule and now it will be pushing the end date to October.

“It’ll be good, it will be good for the community,” said Schuknecht.

But people in town staying positive as they await their new road.

“But its due to be done, it will be better when it’s done it will be fabulous once it’s finished,” said Logan.

The contractor in charge of the project has a big incentive to keep things on track if the road isn’t complete within 105 working days they will be fined two thousand dollars per day.

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