116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — A major part of Coralville’s Fifth Street — an area described as the city’s “civic center” — will be getting an upgrade next year.
The Fifth Street reconstruction is one of the city’s upcoming high-profile projects, said City Engineer Scott Larson.
Coralville Mayor Meghann Foster said the street, which was first paved in 1921, is a vital and historic part of the community.
It’s also one of the city’s busier pedestrian areas, Larson said.
Fifth Street is home to the Coralville Public Library, City Hall, S.T. Morrison Park, as well as a variety of businesses, apartment buildings and other city buildings. It also hosts the city’s Fifth Street Social, which is coming up on Aug. 13.
“ (Fifth Street) is the civic center of our community with all of those community gathering spaces, the park, the library, the walkability,” Foster said. “It’s really exciting to be thinking about how we want it to look for the next 100 years.”
What: Fifth Street Social
Where: Fifth Street in Coralville, between Sixth Avenue and 12th Avenue
When: Saturday, Aug. 13, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The city’s annual event includes music, food, children’s activities and a classic car show. Learn more and sign up to volunteer at coralville.org/849/5th-Street-Social
The city is past the halfway point of the design phase and is hoping to bid the project in early 2023, Larson said. The current construction estimate is $5.5 million.
Part of the project’s cost will be covered by a $1.65 million Surface Transportation Block Grant that was awarded in 2019. The grant funds, from the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County, were programmed for fiscal year 2023, which started in July.
Larson said the city is working on a revised cost estimate now that project design work is well underway.
Work is planned to be done in phases starting in the spring and continue over the next couple of years. Alongside this project, the city is thinking about how to enhance the public spaces adjacent to Fifth Street.
“I love seeing how we can get creative about our public spaces and creating places in the community that are attractive for our residents to gather and to explore,” Foster said.
The portion of Fifth Street to be reconstructed starts at 12th Avenue and goes through the 20th Avenue intersection. The 12th Avenue intersection will not be impacted.
"If you look out there today, we have a street, we have sidewalks, we have a water main. We have all these things, but they're all original to the area, so it's really in need of a refresh or reconstruction to plan for the future and traffic volumes," Larson said.
The “total reconstruction” includes tearing out the pavement and replacing the sidewalks, as well as new water main and storm sewer, Larson said. New trees, lighting and landscaping also will be added.
Overhead private utilities are being moved underground.
Fifth Street will remain two lanes, but an 8-foot shared-use path will be added along the north side of the street out to 20th Avenue, Larson said.
"It's really kind of rebuilding what's there but trying to extend the Fifth Street corridor aesthetic that we've built up on previous phases off to the east and extend that all the way west to 20th Avenue,“ Larson said.
A focus of the project will be increasing the number and visibility of pedestrian crosswalks on Fifth Street.
The city is planning for five phases of construction spread over 2023 and 2024, Larson said. The goal is to be done with substantial traffic impacts by the end of 2024.
Ideally, work in 2025 will be planting trees, landscaping and other final touch-ups, he said.
“We have to maintain access to businesses and residences and do that in a reasonable way,” Larson said.
The 2023 Fifth Street Social will not be impacted since it takes place east of 12th Avenue to Sixth Avenue, Larson said.
Larson said reconstructing this portion of Fifth Street has been on the city’s list for many years. Most of the Fifth Street reconstruction in recent years has been east of 12th Avenue.
“This represents the last significant portion of Fifth Street that has not been reconstructed in the past 50 years,” he said.
Fifth Street from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue was reconstructed from 1996 to 1999, and the portion from First Avenue to Ninth Avenue was reconstructed from 2015 to 2016.
When this project is finished, the Fifth Street transformation will be nearly complete.
Work still needs to be done at the intersection of 10th Avenue where a roundabout is planned and a short block to Ninth Avenue hasn’t been reconstructed yet, Larson said.
Along with the reconstruction, the city is exploring how civic spaces along the street — including those in front of city-owned buildings — could be enhanced, Larson said.
The reconstruction isn’t building any of those civic spaces — they would be future projects — but the city has conceptual boards displayed in city buildings to get residents thinking about the possibilities.
A consultant has been hired and the city has been hosting design meetings.
“We wanted to make sure that we had some ideas of what these spaces could be eventually, so that we could make adjustments to the street project,” Larson said.
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