116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The city of Cedar Rapids’ multiyear endeavor to spur development in the flood-devastated northwest quadrant by connecting Ellis Boulevard and Sixth Street NW is making progress before the 2022 construction season comes to a close.
Effective Wednesday, the Ellis Boulevard and E Avenue NW intersection will reopen, Public Works said. But the nearby intersection of Ellis Boulevard and F Avenue NW will close Thursday morning for construction of a roundabout, which the contractor anticipates will be complete and reopened by the end of fall.
This plan allows for one of the two Ellis intersections to remain open throughout the project.
The full closure of Sixth Street NW, between First Avenue W and B Avenue NW, is expected later this year for water services upgrades. A temporary pavement surface will be poured following the project so the road can be used during the winter.
Early next spring, work between First Avenue W and E Avenue NW will resume.
The full project is slated to wrap up by fall 2023.
The Ellis Boulevard intersections are outside the Cultivate Hope Corner Store, the new nonprofit grocery store at 604 Ellis Blvd. NW, operated by nonprofit Matthew 25. The store opened in April, not long before construction began. The store experienced a dip in sales.
Emily Bettridge, Matthew 25’s business development and marketing coordinator, said E Avenue NW currently has parking available for the store’s customers. As of Monday, the store’s main doors facing Ellis Boulevard NW were open again and the sidewalks were complete.
“E Avenue offers convenient access to the store, and pending City Council approval, Matthew 25 has asked to make short-term parking spots closest to the store for our customers,” Bettridge wrote in an email.
The overall $6.4 million road project involves First Avenue W improvements from Sixth Street NW to First Street NW, and connecting Sixth Street NW to Ellis Boulevard NW. The goal is to help traffic flow, reduce crashes and add a connection between the Time Check neighborhood and downtown.
Funding comes from various sources, including the local-option sales tax that funds Paving for Progress, state Traffic Safety Improvement Program grant, Metropolitan Planning Organization Surface Transportation Block Grant and tax increment financing.
In addition to pavement replacement on Sixth Street NW and Ellis Boulevard NW, the project includes a new street between those two roads, roundabout construction at E and F avenues, replacement of a traffic signal at Sixth Street NW and First Avenue W, medians on First Avenue W and improvements to the southbound Interstate 380 exit ramp and L Street SW.
The construction is happening in tandem with work on the $750 million permanent flood control system and nearby developments — both the First and First West mixed-use site featuring a Big Grove brewery, and eventually a 5-in-1 Dam bypass channel the city is pursuing to provide recreational amenities on the Cedar River.
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