Excavation began last month for a $28 million, four-story addition to the Gerdin Business Building, a large track crane was delivered to site this week and the construction pace will pick up when spring semester ends. To create space for construction staging on a tight corner, a section of Wallace Road -- from the Union Drive intersection to the north entrance of the east campus parking deck -- will close Monday, May 13, for an estimated 20 months. The closing places the road and most of the lawn west of the parking deck inside construction fence until January 2021.
Senior construction manager Rob Ebel, facilities planning and management, said the south end of Farm House Lane also will close, as will sidewalks adjacent to the two closed road segments.
The sidewalk emerging from the northwest corner of the parking deck, which angles south to Union Drive, will remain in use, and crews are installing a temporary sidewalk this month south of East Hall to create a safe pedestrian corridor between the open section of Farm House Lane and Wallace Road.
Despite all the activity around it, Ebel noted the building will remain accessible. Three of Gerdin's four entrances -- the northeast, southeast and west doors -- will remain open during construction, as will the loading dock on the northeast side of the building and the parking lot (49) north of it.
Temporary traffic signal
During the Wallace Road closing, a temporary three-way traffic signal will replace the all-way stop signs at the Wallace/Beach roads intersection (by the Forker Building). With the Forker lots and the east deck accessible from just one direction, the traffic light is intended to help move the additional vehicles through that intersection more efficiently, said FPM landscape architect Rhonda Martin. The signals will be equipped with walk request buttons for pedestrians.
"The impacts of the Gerdin Building expansion don't stop at the construction fence and were part of the planning from the beginning of the project," Martin said. "We hope we identified the issues and planned ahead to minimize inconveniences for employees and students."
Impact to summer bus routes
Two CyRide bus routes normally would use that stretch of Wallace Road during the summer. The orange circulator, which connects central campus to the veterinary medicine campus via the Iowa State Center, instead will exit central campus on Union Drive and Lincoln Way. The blue route, which connects central campus to South Duff Avenue via South Fourth Street, also is impacted by summer road projects on the west side of campus. The blue route's campus loop will be pushed out to Sheldon Avenue on the west and Beach Road on the east.
Martin noted FPM crews enlarged two bus stop pads just north of the Wallace-Beach intersection to accommodate anticipated larger numbers of riders seeking to board or exit a bus. One stop is south of General Services Building, the other is east of Agronomy Hall.
Construction traffic only
Ebel said all construction-related traffic to the Gerdin site will arrive from the north on Wallace Road and exit to the south on Union Drive.