Ames drivers beware. Construction is imminent on 13th Street.

Mark Gansen, a civil engineer with the city of Ames, said work on the thoroughfare between Ridgewood and Harding avenues will likely begin around mid- or late-April. As part of the city’s Arterial Street Pavement Improvement program, crews will replace the street’s pavement and upgrade the utilities below it.

During the project, two-block sections of 13th Street within the Ridgewood-to-Harding stretch will be closed to traffic in both directions.

Gansen said the thinking behind the program is to keep Ames’s main roads in good shape, not letting them fall into disrepair.

“This one’s kind of reached the end of its service life in that kind of format as an arterial,” he said.

The engineering and construction on the road is planned to cost nearly $2.2 million. To pay for it, the city plans to use general-obligation bonds and money from the Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. The city will also employ $402,500 in Water System Improvement funds to upgrade the 90-year-old water main beneath 13th Street.

The Ames City Council last Tuesday passed a motion to set bid letting for March 20 with reporting of the bids set for a week later.

The city worked on a section of 13th Street west of the railroad tracks back in 2016. City Traffic Engineer Damion Pregitzer said this project, on the east side of the railroad tracks, should be easier on drivers. While it’s not as busy as a street such as Lincoln Way, he said it’s still much-traveled, especially for people who live on the north side of town.

“At least in this area, we at least have some potential for a detour,” he said.

For example, people who live on Harding, Roosevelt, Marston, Curtiss, Northwestern and Ridgewood avenues off 13th Street will still be able to get to their homes via 16th Street.

A lot of the work will be done during the summer, when both Iowa State University and the Ames Community School District aren’t holding classes. City staff held an informational meeting on the project and per some of the feedback, decided to keep the stretch of 13th Street west of Northwestern Avenue open while classes are still in session.

Gansen said crews will work on the eastern third of the project (about two blocks) first before working on the western third. The third in the middle will be saved for last. 13th Street west of Ridgewood Avenue will remain open throughout the project, allowing access to the Furman Aquatic Center and other properties nearby.