MUSCATINE, Iowa – The area known as Houser Hill, a section of Houser Street from Lucas Street to Hershey Avenue, is deteriorating and there is little that the Department of Public Works (DPW) can do to fix the problem at the present time. However, DPW staff note that work to repair the street could begin later this summer.
Brian Stineman, DPW Director, said in a memorandum to the City Council and Mayor Thursday (May 30) that multiple attempts have been made and continue to be made to patch the ever growing potholes.
“Unfortunately, due to the excessive amounts of recent rainfall the ground is saturated and water continues to flow down the hill,” Stineman said. “The water erodes the patching material placed in the holes and does not allow the patch to properly set up, which makes the patching process mostly ineffective.”
Stineman noted that the City does not have a more effective material to patch the holes at the present time but staff will continue to monitor the street and patch the potholes as necessary.
While drivers may not think of the delay in repairing the pot holes as good news, the fact that this section of Houser Street will be the first section repaired during the 2019-2020 Full-Depth Patching Contract is very good news about this well used street. The contract for the project is on the agenda to be awarded at the June 6 Muscatine City Council meeting. Once accepted, work will begin shortly after the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2019.
“Until then we will do our best to keep this highly travelled roadway open to the public,” Stineman said.
Drivers should slow down, be alert, and use caution when on this section of Houser Street. Potholes can be avoided safely if drivers operate with care especially since water continues to flow onto the street and may hide the length and depth of potholes along the route.
Stineman also said in the memorandum that if the street continues to deteriorate and become unsafe for vehicular traffic, the City may close Houser Street from Lucas to Hershey and set up a detour route.
“The public will be notified if the decision is made to close the road,” Stineman said.
This section of Houser Street will see a lot of work over the next year starting with a temporary closure to remove the trees cut down ahead of the West Side Trail Project that is set to begin later this year.
Details of the Full Depth Patching Project on Houser Street will be announced after the schedule is set following acceptance of the contract by the City Council.
In conjunction with the Houser Street work, Fletcher Avenue, in the area known as Miller’s Hill, will be closed for hot mix patching ahead of any closure on Houser Street according to city officials. The area has been closed twice so far this spring due to a mud slide and a fallen tree, but has also deteriorated due to the wet weather.
Although Fletcher Avenue will not be part of the official detour route for any partial or full closure of Houser Street between Lucas and Hershey, city officials were asked by Council members to repair Miller’s Hill if possible ahead of any Houser Street closure.