CEDAR FALLS — Construction on Phase 1 of West First Street/Highway 57 reconstruction is coming to a close.

The West First Street project is less than two weeks from its deadline to open, said Chase Schrage, Cedar Falls public works director. The first part of October will see cars back on the roadway in two lanes until construction is finished later in the fall.

“Towards the end of November they’re going to be looking at opening the roadway to traffic,” Schrage said. “There will be no head to head traffic, no traffic control; it’ll be operational as normal.”

The closure is supposed to be in place for approximately 60 days because of railroad construction. After the railroad crossing is complete, traffic will be maintained throughout construction with at least one travel lane in each direction. Residential driveways are maintained along with signed business accesses throughout construction.

This summer’s construction took place in several stages: railroad closure, work on the south half of the road, and then on the north half. During construction, cones restrict the ability to turn left.

Construction will resume in 2020 on Phase 2. Phase 3 will be completed by the end of 2021. In 2020 residents will see reconstruction from Walnut Street to Ellen Street, and the third phase in 2021 will be from Ellen Street to Hudson Road. Over the winter, all cones will be removed and the road will be fully open to two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Construction of each phase includes reduced lanes, similar to Phase 1, as well as completion before winter, but no future complete road closure.

The current road closure is the only closure necessary for the project, Chase said.

“Next year traffic will just be pushed to one side, head to head, while they work on the other side of the road way,” Chase said.

The cost of the complete reconstruction is estimated to be $13.5 million, shared by the city of Cedar Falls and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

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