This rendering shows a potential design for enhancements to the University Avenue bridge over Greenhill Road.

WATERLOO — Plans to rebuild another crumbling stretch of University Avenue may cost less than expected.

Both bids the city received Thursday for the second phase of the University Avenue reconstruction project came in below the $8.61 million estimate from the AECOM engineering firm.

Peterson Contractors Inc., of Reinbeck, was the apparent low bidder at $8.37 million, which was just $10,000 below the other bid from K. Cunningham Construction, of Cedar Falls. A construction contract will go before the Waterloo City Council at a later date.

PCI is also the contractor on the $8.7 million first phase of the project, started last year, which is rebuilding University from Greenhill Road to just east of Ansborough Avenue.

The second phase involves completely rebuilding the stretch of University Avenue between Greenhill and the Cedar Falls city limits at Midway Drive, changing it from six to four lanes and adding sidewalks, a recreational trail and new sewer lines, water mains and traffic signals.

There are no roundabout intersections designed in this phase of the project.

Work is expected to take two construction seasons, with the segment from Midway to just east of McDonald’s to be done this year and the rest slated for 2020.

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Enhancements, including signs, bus benches, shelters, plantings and proposed decorative improvements on the Greenhill Road bridge, are expected to be bid in a second contract to be completed along with the 2020 phase.

Contractors will keep through traffic and access to businesses throughout the construction project.

“Maintaining access to businesses along the corridor is more difficult without the frontage roads between Midway Drive and McDonald’s,” said AECOM’s Doug Schindel. “However, we have worked with the adjacent businesses to develop a construction staging plan and detour routing when needed.”

A number of buildings in that stretch are currently vacant, including the former Kmart and Hy-Vee grocery stores.

The project is being funded with $28 million from the Iowa Department of Transportation when it transferred jurisdiction of University Avenue to the city. The Waterloo Water Works is funding the water main work and the Black Hawk County Gaming Association has awarded the city a $750,000 grant for enhancements.

The final phase of the project from Ansborough Avenue east to U.S. Highway 63 near downtown is expected to be constructed in 2020.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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