MUSCATINE, Iowa – Mississippi Drive remains closed to both vehicular traffic and to parking from Pine Street to Mulberry Avenue according to City of Muscatine officials.
City officials will be enforcing the parking ban especially from Mulberry to Iowa Avenue with vehicles illegally parks subject to being ticketed and towed at the owners expense.
“We hope to scrape, sweep, and wash down Mississippi Drive from Pine to Iowa in the next couple of days and reopen the street to the Iowa Avenue intersection as early as Monday,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “It will be several more weeks before we will open the rest of the street and that depends on the weather.”
Temporary stop signs will be in place at the Iowa Avenue intersection once it is open until Muscatine Power & Water (MPW) restores power and tests the traffic signals. The railroad crossing into Riverside Park will also remain closed.
“Iowa to Mulberry has been under water for an extended period of time and we want to give the sub-base time to dry,” Stineman said. “There are still a lot of wet areas on the street and muddy areas that need to dry before being scraped, swept, and washed down.”
The Mississippi River is at 21.08 feet as of 10:15 a.m. Thursday (May 9) and is expected to drop below major flood stage (20 feet) on Sunday. The current forecast by the National Weather Service has the river at Muscatine continuing to recede and be at 18.4 feet by May 16. However, any heavy rainfall north of Muscatine during the next week could change the river level forecast.
“The river needs to be below 19.5 feet before we can start mobilizing to clean and inspect Mississippi Drive,” Stineman said. “Keeping people off the roadway will help prevent the concrete from cracking which could cause longer delays in opening the street.”
Canadian Pacific raised their tracks through downtown Muscatine earlier this week and is continuing maintenance on the section from the Heinz spur to Broadway. Both the Cedar Street and Iowa Avenue crossings are closed while the work continues.
Once Canadian Pacific reopens the crossings, the City of Muscatine plans to keep Riverside Park closed to facilitate cleanup efforts. Most of Riverside Park has been under water since late March with work to restore the park unable to begin until the river drops below 18 feet.
If the river keeps dropping, the goal is to have Mississippi Drive and Riverside Park open by Memorial Day. However, that is dependent on the weather and further changes in river levels.
City Parking Lot #4 (off of Sycamore Street) is open for parking although it will be closed for cleaning sometime in the next two weeks. Drivers are urged to use caution when entering and exiting the parking lot due to the residual remaining as the river recedes.
LONG TIME UNDER WATER