CEDAR FALLS — The clock’s running for contractors to complete the current phase of University Avenue before winter.
The road will not be left in its current state — one two-way road — over the winter, city staff told the City Council Monday night.
“There will be two lanes in each direction through the winter,” said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, interim city community development director.
Crews have about four weeks to complete the traveled portion in front of College Square mall and Black Hawk Village to meet a Nov. 19 deadline. There’s a financial incentive built into the contract for work crews meet that deadline, but it’s a tight schedule and depends on the weather.
“It’s looking difficult to meet, but we want to give the contractor every possibility to complete that for winter — even if it’s past Nov 19,” Sheetz said.
Work yet to be completed includes roundabouts at Holiday Road, Boulder Drive, Waterloo Road and some paving from the Black Hawk Village entrance to McClain Drive, city engineers said.
If those can be finished, the main line of the divided four-lane road, with roundabouts, will be open before Thanksgiving, staff said. Some access road and recreational trail work will extend into 2017.
If it doesn’t happen, there are contingency plans. The will be two lanes of travel in each direction with roundabouts at Boulder Drive and Holiday Roads. Traffic signals at Valley Park and Tucson drives would be removed once the Boulder and Holiday roundabouts are functioning, and cross traffic would be routed to the Boulder and Holiday roundabouts.
Council member Tom Blanford asked, “Are we on track to be finished with what we expected to be, or are we not?”
“We are going to continue work,” Michelle Sweeney of the city engineering staff said. “Obviously, weather was an issue this summer. But we’re going to just have to see how the next four weeks go.”
She added: “This has been a very aggressive schedule. If the weather would have been perfect, it would be difficult, and it will still be difficult.”
“If the weather doesn’t allow the contractor to complete University Avenue on the south half from Black Hawk Village entrance to McClain Drive including the south half of the Waterloo Road roundabout, the city and the contractor have a plan for University Avenue traffic for two lanes in each direction with traffic signals at Waterloo Road and Black Hawk Village Entrance throughout the winter,” Sweeney said.
Sheetz said staff will review with council in December what has and has not been accomplished and its impact on the project’s next phase.
In a related matter, the council approved initiating eminent-domain condemnation proceedings to acquire a portion of property owned by Jim Lown at the northeast corner of University Avenue and Cedar Heights Drive, the former location of a Lebeda mattress store.
A roundabout is proposed at University and Cedar Heights in the project’s next phase. Sheetz noted negotiations still could be be concluded without condemnation.