CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Grand Avenue Bridge Construction Begins Monday, Thousands of Drivers Will be Affected

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Downtown commuters will have to find a new route into the East Village starting Monday.

The Grand Avenue Bridge will be demolished and rebuilt so it won't be available to thousands of drivers a day for nearly a year.

This $10.5 million project will add to the construction headache in the East Village but city leaders say this is a necessary repair.

The 100-year-old bridge was deemed structurally unsafe. City engineers say rebuilding the bridge from scratch is actually more cost-effective than making repairs.

The new bridge should be completed by the end of 2017.

In the meantime, Grand Avenue between 2nd Avenue and Robert D. Ray Drive will be closed. A detour will direct drivers to use the Walnut Street Bridge.

City leaders say it might take drivers some time to get used too.

“It will take an adjustment,” said Pam Cooksey, Engineer, City of Des Moines. “People are going to have to modify their route. I think there will be learning curve. There always is. So there might be a little bit of a bump the first week or maybe in the first month and then people will find their way.”

The bridge will close Monday at 8 a.m. This is only one of several downtown bridge closures we will see over the next couple of years.

The Locust, Walnut, and Court Avenue bridges all need repairs.