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CEDAR FALLS — Work will begin on acquiring property along a stretch of Cedar Heights Drive after the City Council Monday approved a project to upgrade the street.

A 0.8-mile section of the two-lane street will be reconstructed from the East Viking Road roundabout heading north and east through the intersection of Greenhill Road. The project, which has a preliminary estimate of $6 million, includes replacement of the existing traffic signal at Cedar Heights Drive and Greenhill Road with a multi-lane roundabout. A single lane roundabout will also be built at Cedar Heights and Huntington Road.

The council voted 4-1 to authorize the project, including the purchase of right-of-way. Council member Susan deBuhr cast the dissenting vote. Council members Rob Green and Dave Wieland were absent.

“We’re moving forward with the plans to replace Cedar Heights Drive,” Matt Tolan, a civil engineer with the city, told the council. “Specifically, we’re looking at the property acquisition.”

Overall, the property purchases will be “fairly minimal,” he noted. The city is “only looking at a permanent acquisition of a quarter acre.” Temporary property easements will also be negotiated. Between the two, land needs to be acquired from about 20 property owners.

The new road will still have two driving lanes but would be widened with a median and turn lanes to help with traffic flow. It will feature a raised median from East Viking Road to Prairie Street, a designated southbound left turn lane from Prairie Street to Huntington Road and a two-way center left turn lane from Huntington Road to Greenhill Road.

Chase Schrage, director of public works, said a traffic analysis showed improvements would be needed at the intersection with Huntington Road in five years, so officials opted to do the work as part of this project. The city’s consultant on the improvements said a roundabout would be the best way to upgrade the intersection.

Bids are expected to be sought next fall with construction occurring during 2021 and 2022.

In other business, the council approved:

  • A supplemental agreement for $37,200 in engineering services with Snyder & Associates on the West Viking Road reconstruction from Production Drive to Hudson Road. It’s for design of curb, gutter and storm sewer as well as a 10-foot wide recreational trail along the north side of the road.
  • A $12,400 change order in the 2016 contract with The Davenport Group USA to provide land management software and services. The changes will configure the software to receive rental housing and business occupancy data for annual fire protection inspections, undertake related data migration and testing, and train users on the new functionality.
  • A $10,934 relocation assistance reimbursement for MNN Enterprises at 1310 W. First St. as part of the final design phase for First Street’s reconstruction from Hudson Road to the Center/Franklin Street intersection. The project identifies total acquisition of three properties and partial acquisition of 68 properties.
  • A $4,870 annual contract to use the Leads Online software to track pawned merchandise across the country.
  • A statement of completion and final acceptance of work on the West 20th Street bridge project, which included replacing the roadway and box culvert between Franklin and Clay streets.
  • Renewing an agreement with the American Red Cross to use the Cedar Falls Recreation and Fitness Center as shelter in case of a disaster emergency.

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