Iowa DOT holds another public meeting on Black Hawk Bridge project; Input accepted until October 11

Discussing the approach ... At the public meeting held Monday, September 27 at Kee High School in Lansing, Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) officials are pictured above explaining to area residents how the approach to the new bridge replacing the Black Hawk Bridge will be constructed to facilitate easier turning for trucks and other large vehicles. Public comment on the project is being accepted through Monday, October 11. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) held another informational meeting about the proposed Black Hawk Bridge replacement project in Lansing at Kee High School Monday evening, September 27. The purpose of the meeting was to show the general public the right of way property impacts for the project, to describe the preliminary construction schedule, to show the preferred alignment and aesthetic aspects of the new bridge design, and to receive public input and answer questions. Several representatives from the Iowa DOT met informally with the public during the open house event.
Currently, the DOT is waiting for formal approval from the Federal Highway Administration before it can move ahead with right-of-way acquisitions. One of the poster diagrams at the event showed the areas which are proposed for the easements for the bridge, plus the approaching streets, sidewalks and retaining walls.

At a previous June meeting, the new bridge’s design was unveiled. During previous meetings, several designs had been proposed but public comment strongly favored keeping the design of the new bridge similar to the current Black Hawk Bridge. People at the June meeting were very pleased with the new bridge’s similar design to the current bridge. The new bridge will have two 12-foot driving lanes with eight-foot shoulders.

Comments from the June meeting also favored a historic look for the pier design. The piers are the large cement structures which help to support the bridge. The current design stays consistent to the design of the current piers. As the design phase progresses, the retaining wall involved with the bridge construction will also remain in the theme of that historic look. Modifications may be necessary as the final design progresses.

The new bridge’s location will be approximately 50 feet north of the current bridge. Right-of-way  will include two total acquisitions with nine parcels also needed for temporary easement. To see what properties will be impacted, view maps at for easements and acquisitions, which will allow for construction, sidewalks, utility work, storm sewers and a retaining wall. The retaining wall will be approximately 10-12 feet tall and will be situated between the houses and the highway on the Iowa side of the river.

By late Fall 2021, the right-of-way negotiations will begin; July 2023 is the projected date for project letting; Fall 2023-2025 is slated for the actual construction with the current bridge being closed for approximately five months during the 2025 construction season. This is necessary to allow the contractors to tie the new bridge into the existing roadway on both sides of the bridge.

The detours will involve routing to the next bridges either in the LaCrescent, MN/La Crosse, WI area to the north or the Marquette/Prairie du Chien, WI area to the south to cross the Mississippi River. There will be a small portion of State Hwy. 26 closed for a time but local residents will still be able to get to their homes. The current bridge will be removed in 2026.

Several people posed questions about the lighting of the bridge. DOT officials said that information about bridge lighting has been forwarded to the City of Lansing for review since the lighting is not part of the DOT project.

Questions and comments about the project can be submitted to; phone 641-423-7584 or 800-477-4368; Write: 428 43rd Street SW, Mason City, IA 50401or online at, where a brief summary of the public meeting information is also available. To be included in the summary booklet, comments should be received by Monday, October 11.