Conversion to two-way traffic in downtown Ottumwa approaching

Four-way stop signs have begun to replace stoplights in downtown Ottumwa intersections.

Drivers in Ottumwa are already starting to see changes to downtown traffic.

Four-way stop signs have been put up at intersections like Market and Second Streets, replacing the stoplights that were previously there.

Drivers may also see a few covered signs around town.

All of this is in preparation for converting the one-way streets to two-way streets downtown. However, due to ongoing construction, a firm date for when the project will begin is still up in the air.

"Some of the rules we have to follow tend to change as we're going through the project, so we have to adapt to that and there's delays and approvals of things," said Joe Helfenberger, Ottumwa City Administrator. "That all impacts the project. We know that we don't have any extensions on the deadline for the project, so any time we can accelerate the project, we will. At this point, we're on schedule, but we're not ahead of schedule."

Helfenberger said work from McClean to McPherson Street will likely begin shortly after Memorial Day. When the whole project is complete, that stretch of streets will return to being one-way.

After work on that section begins, construction from Jefferson Street to Kitterman Avenue will start. That is the stretch of road that will permanently remain two-way traffic.