CEDAR RAPIDS — For those who have ventured downtown this week, it’s been hard to miss the construction equipment, traffic cones and orange-clad workers accompanying the six-block-long paving project taking place on Second Avenue SE.
Since Monday, crews have been milling and paving the northern half of Second Avenue SE. The roadway has remained open to traffic with only a few temporary closures.
“We’ve kept that lane open. All the businesses, you still have access to them,” City Engineer Nate Kampman said. “I would encourage people to use a little extra patience and slow down through work zones. We want to make sure people can still get to where they need to go.”
Next week, work will begin on the avenue’s southern lanes.
When the project is complete in a few weeks, the length of Second Avenue SE, between First and Eighth streets SE, will be converted to two-way traffic.
“We are excited to get this project done and get the continuity that we want with a consistent two-way downtown,” said city spokeswoman Emily Breen.
Later this year, crews will convert Fourth and Fifth avenues SE between Third and Fifth streets SE to two-way traffic.
Also this year, Union Pacific Railroad crews will begin construction of railroad drop gates and medians at Second, Fourth and Fifth avenues.
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The city plans to apply for a quiet zone distinction — which would reduce the loud train whistles downtown — after the gates are installed. Officials have said that process could take up to a year.
To learn more about the downtown projects taking place this year, the public is invited to an open house, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 4, at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 501 First St. SE.
Residents also can sign up for electronic updates at cityofcr.com/conversions.
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