Digging in

A cluster of heavy machinery and deep holes in the ground mark the spot where the reconstruction of a downtown street has started.

Crews are working near the intersection of First Avenue North and Third Street on the first phase of a job that will rebuild First Avenue North all the way to Seventh Street.

A part of First Avenue North and its intersection with Third Street have been closed since Monday because of the construction.

“It’s a little inconvenient, but it’s sure worth it to get this started because that street was shot,” said Mike Doyle, of Fort Dodge.

He has a front row seat for the first phase of the project because his business, Doyle Construction Co., and an apartment complex he owns are in the 300 block of First Avenue North.

“Rasch Construction is one of the subcontractors and they’ve got a big crew working,” Doyle said. “They’re really getting after it.”

The project includes total reconstruction of the pavement, sidewalk replacement and installation of new water mains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and street lights. Those street lights will be the first LED street lights in the city.

Wicks Construction, of Decorah, is the general contractor on the job. It has a $2,839,770.25 contract.

The city received a $1,695,000 state grant to help pay for the work. The rest of the money will come from the local option sales tax, plus sanitary sewer and water system revenues.

The contractor will have 140 working days to complete the project.

The work will be done in phases so that the entire street is not under construction at the same time. Access to the Rosedale Apartments and the Webster County office building at 330 First Ave. N. will be maintained throughout the project.

City Manager David Fierke has previously said that when the project is complete he will recommend that First Avenue North be converted to two-way traffic for its entire downtown length. It is now a two-way street between Third and Seventh streets. Between Seventh and 12th streets it is a one-way street with all traffic heading east.