Government

$2 million project set to improve traffic safety around Mount Vernon Road Hy-Vee

Screenshot of a map showing the portion of Mt. Vernon Road SE that will be improved during the $2 million project.
Screenshot of a map showing the portion of Mt. Vernon Road SE that will be improved during the $2 million project.

CEDAR RAPIDS — A dangerous intersection at the access point to Hy-Vee on Mount Vernon Road SE is scheduled for changes, including a new traffic signal, in the coming months.

Residents in that area had expressed concern about difficulty getting in and out of Hy-Vee a couple of years ago during the Mount Vernon Road corridor action plan, said Doug Wilson, Cedar Rapids Paving for Progress manager. The location has seen 22 crashes since 2015, he said.

“This project is asphalt resurfacing, but also several changes to address the collision issue at the exit and entrance to the Hy-Vee parking lot off Mount Vernon Road.”

The $2 million project focused on Mount Vernon Road between 38th Street and East Post Road SE was approved by the Cedar Rapids City Council last week. It will include new and upgraded traffic signals, traffic lane reconfiguration, water main replacement, removal and replacement of asphalt pavement, sidewalk replacement/extension, sidewalk ramp construction, and concrete turn lane construction, according to a city presentation about the plan.

There will be a new combined entrance to Hy-Vee with the entrance of Mercy Care Vernon Village.

Mount Vernon Road will be configured with two westbound lanes, one eastbound land and a new center left turn lane into Hy-Vee.

The project qualified for $500,000 from the Iowa Department of Transportation traffic safety improvement program for installation of a new traffic signal at 40th Street SE, which will serve as the main entrance.

Hy-Vee will construct the remainder of the new access south of the 40th Street intersection. The existing Hy-Vee access will be converted to a right turn-in only.

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Council member Scott Olson questioned whether the project addresses needs identified in the action plan and whether this is part of the Paving for Progress budget. Wilson said it addresses the concerns about accessing Hy-Vee identified in the action plan but not the aesthetics. He said the amount not covered from the Iowa DOT grant would be covered by Paving for Progress, which is an $18 million-a-year street repair initiative funded by a local-option sales tax.

Council member Marty Hoeger questioned whether the changes take into account possible future commercial development at two sites near Hy-Vee along the frontage of Mount Vernon Road. Wilson said Hy-Vee is contemplating a convenience store at one of the sites but has not set a time frame, and he was unaware of plans for the other possible development site. The traffic project does account for potential new uses, Wilson said.

The project is expected to start in April and be complete in September. A contractor has not yet been selected.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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