CEDAR RAPIDS — An estimated $170,000 worth of plantings are heading for the Third Avenue Bridge after gaining support Tuesday from the City Council.
The project is intended to fill a newly created buffer zone between motor vehicle lanes and bike lanes as traffic engineers shrink the wide bridge near the Linn County Courthouse and create a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly area.
“We wanted to create a space that felt different from the wide expanse of the bridge,” said Doug Wilson, Cedar Rapids’ Paving for Progress manager. “It’s a big area.”
The council voted 7-0 to approve the scope of the plantings project and for staff to develop a contract for the work. Council members Susie Weinacht and Marty Hoeger were said to be traveling and did not attend the meeting.
The project would provide trees, perennials, soil and planters that should already be in place by the time the project starts. Some 115 planters and an unspecified number of benches already have been purchased, Wilson said.
Work would begin in August after ongoing pavement and structural rehabilitation of the bridge is complete, and would wrap up in April or May 2020. Most of the plantings would go in this year, while the trees would be installed next spring.
Council members asked if pollinator habitat was among the plantings, how funding would work and who had maintenance responsibility.
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Wilson said he was not aware of pollinator habitat being included. The project is being funded by tax increment financing from the district as well as traditional city-issued bonds for streetscaping, Wilson said. The downtown self-supported taxing district would handle routine maintenance, he said.