116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — After being closed for almost half a year, one of Marion’s main streets is back open.
Seventh Avenue, which has been under construction since July, opened Friday evening.
Other than work on the 11th Street plaza area, phase one has been completed, the city announced in a weekend news release.
The avenue is undergoing major renovations as part of the city’s streetscape project. Phase two is scheduled to begin in the spring.
The overall $6.9 million project is being funded by local-option sales tax dollars and bonding through the city’s capital improvement program.
The area of Seventh Avenue between Uptown businesses and City Square Park is set to become a “festival street,” with no curbs to make it more walkable. In the future, the street could be closed down for events.
Phase one had shut down Seventh Avenue between 10th Street and 12th Street along the border of City Square Park and the old Marion Square Plaza strip mall.
The project has included the reconstruction of the street and sidewalks and the replacement of underground utilities, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main on Seventh Avenue between 10th and 12 streets.
Marion Assistant City Engineer Jacob Hahn said the center turn lane on Seventh Avenue between 10th and 12th streets has been removed. That will allow for angled parking and provide additional room in front of businesses for outdoor dining.
Hahn said the majority of the underground infrastructure is completed for the 11th Street North Plaza area. Work on the surface improvements is expected to be completed in the spring.
In addition, building entrances were reconstructed for Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, as most of the old buildings were not accessible previously.
Detailed brickwork within the 1100 block of Seventh Avenue and the 11th Street crossing will continue before phase two begins. The areas where that work is being completed will continue to be roped off and daytime temporary parking spot closures will occur, according to a city news release.
Fencing has been moved to make full use of the sidewalk through the winter, allowing complete access to the front of Seventh Avenue businesses again, which have had to rely on access from the Uptown Artway since the summer.
Work will continue on light poles and finish materials when the materials arrive. Finish materials have been delayed due to supply chain issues and material shortages that have been ongoing since the start of the pandemic last year.
In 2022, Hahn said, construction on the project will be split into four phases: 10th Street from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue, 10th Street from Sixth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, Seventh Avenue from Eighth Street to 10th Street, and Ninth Street from Sixth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.
Hahn said the completion of the 10th Street intersection earlier this year will allow for Seventh Avenue between 10th and 12th streets to remain open during 2022.
Hahn added that the goal is to have four of the phases completed by November 2022.
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