Construction industry in Iowa forges ahead despite pandemic

By AUSTIN ELLIS (LCTV)

As a result of COVID-19, many businesses and operations have been effected. Thousands of workers have either been furloughed or laid off in Iowa. Yet, there are still many essential workers clocking in every day. One of the essential operations that hasn’t been effected gravely in Dubuque is road and home construction.

Hugh Holak

Iowa’s Residential Construction Engineer, Hugh Holak, spoke on the effects of COVID-19. Speaking on the status of road construction, he said,

“The projects in Dubuque have not been effected. The only change is that the inspection staff reports directly to the project instead of coming in to the office each morning.”

Despite the health concerns about the spreading of the virus, it’s business as usual for construction workers in Dubuque.

This means that projects such as the one on Southeast Arterial road are going ahead on schedule. Holak went on to add that “Office staff such as myself and 3 others take turns having an office day, working from home, or going to projects”.

Dubuque’s Davis Construction has had to adapt their work methods of home construction due to COVID-19.  Owner Ryan Davis explained,

“We have shifted all our work outside, pausing any interior projects or finishes.”

The shift to exclusively outside projects is in attempt to preserve the safety of people in their homes. Davis added,” Overall it has not had a profound effect on projects at this moment”.

While road operations in Dubuque have yet to be effected, Coralville has seen some impact from COVID-19. According to Holak, “Our office is also handling the I-80/380 interchange reconstruction in Coralville”. He noted that two employees got sick and were sent home for 2 weeks before returning to work. Holak added, “On that project we also have had a couple individual crew members that had to isolate because family members had it”.

Despite sending workers home in Coralville, the progress on construction in the state is relatively on track. While COVID-19 continues to effect jobs and businesses every day, road and home construction workers are braving the conditions and going to work.

Photo courtesy of the City of Dubuque

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I'm a junior at Loras College. I have a Major in Media Studies. I also write Film Reviews in the Telegraph Herald every Friday.

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