Construction on the U.S. Highway 65 bridge in Collins is progressing according to schedule.

"We are at or maybe even slightly ahead of what we anticipated right now," said Mark Dunn of the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT). "We’re anticipating somewhere around Oct. 1, weather permitting."

Dunn stated that crews have now paved north of First Street and will begin on the south half of the project next week. Some aspects of the project that have yet to be completed include retaining walls and sidewalks.

The DOT expects that this will be the only major construction necessary on the bridge for 30-40 years. Crews are installing a box culvert under the bridge, which Dunn says usually outlasts the pavement above it.

Dunn doesn’t anticipate ‘any significant delays,’ as long as the weather allows crews to continue working. The only problem encountered so far in relation to the project is the increased traffic on surrounding gravel roads from motorists going around Collins. The dust the extra traffic creates often decreases visibility. He says it’s also an inconvenience for those living along these roads.

"We know the detours seem like a long way around to stay on the paved roads, but these detours exist for safety and we ask that people stay on the paved roads," said Dunn. "It can make [driving] a dangerous situation with the dust clouds."