FORT MADISON (WGEM) -- Fort Madison crews shut down Business 61 between 6th and 10 Street Monday afternoon as the city began the second phase of their multi-million dollar project to revitalize the road.
Public works director Mark Bousselot said crews will be working to turn the four block section of the four-lane road into a three lane conversion, as they did from 2nd to 6th Street last year.
"That would be one lane each direction with a center turning lane," he said. "Statistically, the three lane conversion moves more traffic quicker."
Detours have been set up at 15th Street, Avenue E and 6th Street.
Bousselot said they're looking to have most of the work done by November.
"That's going to allow the contractor to come in, tear up the road, put down the new water main and the new storm sewer," he said. "But the contract goes through May of 2022 so that would allow for the seeding to get established and some of the vital work behind the back of the curbs where traffic wouldn't be.
Residents said they're happy to see the project moving forward.
"I think it's something that has needed to be done for a long time and it's really going to bring the Fort Madison area to a pretty place to drive through and to look at and shop," resident and business owner Brenda Derr said.
The owner of Shug's Tiny Town, Derr said she's not too worried about the shutdown of a busy thoroughfare keeping customers out of the downtown area.
"Because people love your shop, love the downtown area which is seems like they do, they will still come," she said.
Derr said that also applied to the crowds that flock to town for the Tri-State Rodeo.
"It might be a little bit confusing for people coming down for the parade but for the most part, people that come down are coming down from rodeo where they camp so they won't even hit 61, they'll just come down the hill," she said.
Bousselot said those looking to get to downtown businesses need to take care and drive slowly.
"So just use caution getting to them as it's going to be hard, there's going to be construction activity there," he said.
Bousselot said the next phase of the Business 61 project will be from 10th to 18th Street. He said the city is still in the design process for that section of highway.