Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Bridge near Richland nearing completion
RICHLAND — Construction on the bridge west of Richland is nearing completion, and should be open by the second week of April, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The Iowa DOT closed the bridge on Highway 78 about 2.5 miles west of Richland in April 2022. The DOT expected to be able to open the bridge that fall, but that had to be pushed back several months, and is now just a few weeks away.
The DOT replaced the bridge over the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad. Hector Torres-Cacho, transportation planner with the DOT’s District 5 Office, said the new bridge is significantly longer and wider than the old bridge. The old bridge was 292 feet long and 26 feet wide, while the new one is 467 feet long and 40 feet wide.
The new bridge is also higher than the old, 4.5 feet to be exact, which required about 2,600 square feet of roadway to be reconstructed. The project has involved replacing the guardrails, paving shoulders, and reconstructing some private entrances that tie into the new roadway alignment.
During this past year while the bridge was under construction, motorists have had to take a southern detour near Richland, having them use the Packwood Road on the west and traveling on H17 (120th Street in Jefferson County) to connect to Highway 1 on the east.
Since construction is not yet complete, motorists are reminded that only local traffic will have access to Iowa 78 between the Packwood Road and Highway 1.
The Iowa DOT also reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey the posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones.