Construction to re-route truck traffic closes Sixth Street

Julie Rule

Motorists and bicyclists will notice some changes around Sixth Street this summer.

Jeff Witt, ISU assistant director of utilities, said the changes are primarily for the safety of motorists and bicyclists and for better access to the power plant.

“We have had a lot of problems with coal trucks [in the same traffic as] cars and bicycles,” he said. “We’ve had some accidents.”

The two-phase project is scheduled to begin around May 8 and will be completed in early August.

Phase I will create a new access drive to the CyRide bus garage and the ISU power plant off Elwood Drive, about 225 yards east of Haber Road.

Phase II includes improving the north driveway to the General Services building and closing and removing a section of Sixth Street between Wallace and Haber roads. Drivers will now be able to make left turns onto Haber when traveling east on Elwood.

Rick Fox, landscape architect, said motorists are currently not allowed to turn left at that intersection because of truck traffic. With the new access drive taking trucks out of the car traffic, this would no longer be a problem.

“The dangerous situation turning left onto Haber won’t exist,” he said. “The goal of this is essentially to separate the truck traffic from the cars.”

Witt said these changes should be beneficial to motorists.

“That should make the trip easier, especially when they don’t have to watch out for trucks,” he said.

He said Sixth Street is a dead-end road, and its closing should have “minimal impact” on motorists.

Also during Phase II, the bike path along Sixth Street will be removed. Cyclists and pedestrians will still be able to use the paved and lighted path that runs along the north side of the Lied Recreation Center and the ISU soccer fields. Phase II is expected to begin in early June.

“Our goal was to separate bicycle traffic from the area where we have so much bus and truck traffic,” Fox said.

He said the new path was constructed a few years ago in anticipation of these changes.

“Our goal was to provide the new bike path renovations as early as we could, prior to these changes occurring, so people could get used to the new bike path onto campus,” Fox said.

Witt said this path should be beneficial to bicyclists.

“They have a better path onto campus, and they don’t have to worry about the trucks, as well,” he said.

Witt said these changes are part of a bigger plan for the area around the power plant.

“This is the beginning of improvements in the power plant area to control emissions, such as dust emissions,” he said.