April 8, 2010

Morrill Road reconstruction will begin in May

by Anne Krapfl

Morrill Road, the university's driveway to central campus, will be reconstructed this summer. The work zone extends from Osborn Drive to Union Drive; the construction window from May 10 to Aug. 7.

The intent is to replace a decades-old, crumbling asphalt road with a concrete one. The project cost, about $2 million, will be covered by the state Board of Regents Institutional Roads Fund, which is funded through IDOT road use taxes. Concrete Technologies, Urbandale, will do the work.

When it reopens in August, Morrill Road will remain one-way for southbound vehicle traffic. The project also will widen the sidewalk on the west side of Morrill Road, standardize angle parking on the road (except for in front of Morrill Hall) and create an open loading zone and gathering space in front of Beardshear Hall. The existing northbound bicycle lane will be part of the new road as well.

Project manager Angie Solberg, facilities planning and management, said bids for the project came in lower than anticipated, so the project also will include two new stretches of concrete sidewalk on central campus:

  • Along the east side of Morrill Road from roughly Beardshear to LeBaron halls
  • Along the north side of Union Drive (in front of the Memorial Union) between two north-south sidewalks

The additional sidewalk work will begin April 19, the Monday after Veishea weekend, and be done in early May. Preparation work for the road replacement -- installing construction fences, protecting nearby trees, installing temporary mulch walkways -- will begin on May 3. Morrill Road will close for the summer Monday, May 10 -- after graduation.

Absent weather delays this summer, the new Morrill Road should be cured, striped and ready for use on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Moving through the construction zone

Except for the planned one or two days in July when the entire stretch of road will be paved, pedestrians will be able to cross Morrill Road at three locations during the construction period:

  • At the sidewalk along the south side of Beardshear Hall
  • At the sidewalks along both the south and north sides of Morrill Hall

Solberg said there will be a temporary driveway on the east side of the library, connecting Osborn Drive to the Hub parking lot, to allow ISU Dining and other vendors to continue service in that facility. Most deliveries to Beardshear and Carver halls will be brought by cart from lot 65, south of the Enrollment Services Center. For a limited number of deliveries, a vehicle may be allowed to use the sidewalk along the west side of those buildings. Signs will be posted to alert pedestrians to the shared sidewalk possibility, she said.

CyRide orange route

The only CyRide route that uses Morrill Road is the orange shuttle between central campus, the Iowa State Center commuter lots and the Vet Med campus. The orange route will use existing bus stops along Bissell Road and Union Drive during the construction period.

Alternative parking

Visitors to buildings affected by the construction project should park in the Memorial Union parking ramp or at metered stalls.

Holders of Lot 18 (Morrill Road) reserved parking permits have been notified of alternate parking plans during the construction. Their permits will be honored in the east campus parking deck (either level), the prepay lot on the west side of the Armory (lot 21), or any general staff lot on campus. Four additional handicap-accessible stalls will be created temporarily in lot 65, south of the Enrollment Services Center.

The reconstruction project will create a temporary net loss of four parking stalls (from 50 to 46) along Morrill Road, counting reserved, handicap accessible and metered stalls. The loss will be replenished at the south end of Morrill Road in a future realignment of the Morrill-Union Drive intersection.