COUNCIL BLUFFS — As the Lincoln Highway celebrates its centennial this summer, the stretch from Council Bluffs to Harrison County will greet a new century with a face-lift.
The Pottawattamie County Board approved a $3.1 million bid for the project Thursday.
County Engineer John Rasmussen said the project will likely take all summer.
“We will be patching, widening in spots and overlaying the whole thing,” he said.
The widening will occur where the highway shrinks from 24 feet wide to 22 feet in numerous spots.
Rasmussen said the project is expected to begin in a few weeks, after the contractors get materials lined up.
The project has been on the drawing board since the Missouri River flooding in 2011, he added. Because the route suffered flood damage, the federal government will pay 80 percent of the repair cost.
Rasmussen said travel on the old road will be difficult at times as construction hits its peak. Drivers may want to use alternate routes such as Interstate 29 this summer.
“Just remember, it will all be done by the end of the summer,” Rasmussen said of the potential driving delays.
The repairs come at a time when the stretch of highway from New York City to San Francisco is being celebrated.
The Lincoln Highway, the nation's first transcontinental highway, was the idea of Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher. As much as 85 percent of the original highway is still drivable in Iowa, according to the Lincoln Highway Association, although some of it is gravel.