CEDAR RAPIDS — The calendar just flipped to January, but 2020 road work already is coming into view with more than $11 million worth of projects adopted Tuesday by the City Council.
The most substantial change is a complete overhaul of pothole-riddled O Avenue NW from 16th Street to Edgewood Road. The pavement — which has been described as some of the worst in the city — is expected to be replaced. New water main, storm and sanitary sewers and culverts will be installed. Sidewalk gaps will be filled and crumbling sidewalks replaced.
“Everything that comes through Paving for Progress is a need,” council member Ashley Vanorny said. “This is certainly where we’ve had a lot of vocal neighbors, and I’ve driven past there and they are extremely valid in their complaint.
“I am excited we are getting done. and there is an end in sight.”
The two-year project is estimated to cost $9.075 million. It would begin in March or April with work on 16th to 24th streets NW in 2020 and 24th Street to Edgewood Road NW in 2021, with completion that fall.
City Council approved the budget and scope of the project, which would open to bids from contractors Jan. 29.
About two-thirds of the budget would be covered by Paving for Progress, a voter-approved 1-cent sales tax for street repairs. The remainder would come from road-use taxes and fees for water, sanitary sewers and storm sewers, said Doug Wilson, Paving for Progress manager.
The O Avenue project is broken up in three phases, with an initial phase reconstructing O Avenue from Ellis Boulevard to 16th Street NW in 2018. No work occurred in 2019.
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Approved Tuesday were the final two phases — 16th to 24th Street NW for 2020 and 24th Street to Edgewood Road NW for 2021.
Council member Marty Hoeger said the project was welcome and “well overdue,” and he said he is thankful it is being finished.
But council member Dale Todd questioned such a large investment on a single project when numerous street repair needs exist.
“This takes a big hit out of the Paving for Progress budget,” Todd said. “Certainly needs it, but that being said, we really need to be thinking about ways to do smaller projects at the same time. This is a substantial chunk of the budget.”
City officials have estimated Paving for Progress tax proceeds can support $18 million per year with of blend of total reconstruction, which is the most costly, rehabilitation and general maintenance.
Wilson had estimated previously 30 to 40 road projects and a budget of around $19.2 million for the 2020 Paving for Progress program.
“Remember, this is a two-year project, so the budget is spread over more than one fiscal year,” Wilson said. “O Avenue has the biggest budget for projects to be done in 2020 and 2021.”
The full O Avenue NW project — from Ellis to Edgewood — clocks in around $11 million, which would be the biggest project entering the seventh year of the 10-year Paving for Progress program, he said.
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Also on deck was awarding a $2.3 million contract to Boomerang Corp. of Anamosa for a project to convert Center Point Road NE from 29th Street to J Avenue from one-way travel to two-way, reconstruct pavement on 29th Street NE from Center Point Road to Interstate 380, add a bioretention cell to hold back water before flowing into McLoud Run, and underground utility upgrades.
Oakland Road NE, which had been a parallel companion one-way street, was converted to two ways. Cedar Rapids has been working for several years to change most of the one-way streets to two-ways, particularly in the downtown area. The city says the two directions are safer, better accommodate multiple modes of transportation — such as cyclists and pedestrians — and are more business- friendly.
The City Council also signed off on a multiyear naming rights deal with ImOn Communications for the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to be called ImOn Ice.
Council members in addition learned of a new partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks that will take place in the next couple of months. The National Hockey League Team is donating equipment and funding to boost the arena’s learn to play hockey program, “which we think is going to be significant,” said Mike Silva of VenuWorks, which manages the ice arena.
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