The bridge won't be fully ready for traffic again until deep into the autumn, if then.

At this morning's meeting, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports the Johnson County Board of Supervisors agreed to a contract with VJ Engineering, based in Coralville, to develop a plan for repairs to the Highway 965 bridge over the Iowa River.

Assistant Johnson County Engineer Rob Winstead says the design phase should be done by the end of next month and bidding for the job would hopefully open a couple weeks after that. Unfortunately, that means construction likely won't start until September and will be completed, hopefully, by the end of November. Until then, one lane of alternating traffic will continue, along with a vehicle weight limit of 20-tons.

According to KCRG, officials also said the bridge will need to be closed completely for a "significant period of time" this fall.

This work is obviously going to affect Iowa football fans this fall, but I believe everyone's greatest concern is if those repairs aren't completed before the weather shall we say, turns. Iowa's weather becomes very unpredictable once you hit mid-November and woes on Interstate 380 are always greater once we begin to see snow and ice. A snowstorm and crashes on the interstate without Highway 965 to fall back on could mean incredible delays. We'll cheer on the construction teams once they begin work, and hope Mother Nature is kind to us until they're done.

The bridge repairs should add another 20 years to its life.

[via Iowa City Press-Citizen and KCRG]