Government

Highway 100 extension opening delayed till December

Rain slowed Cedar Rapids work, but project still ahead of schedule

The bridge over the Cedar River looking west as work continues on the Highway 100 extension in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The bridge over the Cedar River looking west as work continues on the Highway 100 extension in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Motorists will have to wait another month or so until the first phase of the long-awaited Highway 100 extension project is completed.

John Vu, the Iowa Department of Transportation project manager, said the stretch of Highway 100 from Edgewood Road NE to Covington Road, which officials had hoped would be completed this month, isn’t ready for vehicles yet.

“We are not going to be able to open that before Thanksgiving,” Vu said. “If I have to guess, I will shoot for mid-December.”

Vu said subcontractors on the Highway 100 project had to deal with significant rain delays in other Iowa projects and must first address those commitments elsewhere before coming back to Cedar Rapids.

“It’s kind of a domino effect,” Vu said. “They have to catch up with work in other locations.”

While the delays have pushed the project back about one month, a December opening still would be ahead of the project’s original schedule. The 4-mile stretch of highway originally was planned to open early next year.

The other half of the Highway 100 project — a 4-mile extension from Covington Road to Highway 30 — will complete the roughly $214 million project. Work is anticipated to be finished in 2020.

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With little room for drainage in the area, project designers on the Highway 100 project will use mechanically stabilized, earth-retaining walls to elevate the extension and protect Highway 100 from erosion in the surrounding land.

At the south end of the extension is a $7.5 million project to add additional access ramps to where the Highway 100 extension merges with Highway 30 west of Cedar Rapids.

The city asked for and will cover the costs for these ramps, but the Iowa DOT will manage the construction.

When completed, the Highway 100 extension is expected to transform the rural landscape around the road.

Some planning studies have suggested that area could see thousands of new homes — with 25,000 to 30,000 residents — and thousands of new jobs in the coming decades.

In celebration of the near completion of the first phase of the project, IDOT and Cedar Rapids officials are planning a ribbon cutting and community bike tour at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.

City and state officials, including Mayor Ron Corbett, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz and Iowa DOT District Engineer Jim Schnoebelen, are to take part in the event on Highway 100, just west of Edgewood Road. Parking is to be available at that spot.

Following the ribbon cutting, the public is invited to bike, walk or run the highway before it is reopened to vehicle traffic later in the month. Officials said the route is about 4 miles one way and 8 miles round trip.

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