Major road work is about to begin on a primary traffic artery through downtown Waterloo. If the weather allows, the first phase of a two-year reconstruction project on U.S. Highway 63 between Franklin and Jefferson streets will begin Monday morning (March 13, 2017).

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), through traffic on U.S. 63 will be detoured around the work zone. Southbound traffic will be sent onto Airline Hwy., Airport Blvd. and U.S. Highway 218 to the U.S. 63 interchange approaching downtown Waterloo. The same detour will be used for northbound motorists in reverse order.

Traffic on northbound and southbound U.S. 63 -- also known as 1st St. and Mullan Ave. -- will both be restricted to one lane during the reconstruction project. Local traffic will have access to the area, but motorists are encouraged to use the detour or an alternate route due to expected delays caused by traffic congestion.

IDOT officials remind motorists to drive with caution, obey the posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

The reconstruction project is expected to be complete in 2018.