CEDAR RAPIDS — Timelines for three major flood control projects on deck for 2020 worth more than $6 million have been firmed up as the Cedar Rapids City Council reviewed contract proposals Tuesday during a board meeting.
The most significant investment is construction of a new facility providing restrooms and event storage adjacent to McGrath Amphitheatre. The sides of the facility would double as a flood wall and eventually connect to a future levee and flood wall and trail system on the west side of the Cedar River.
“When you look at it, I don’t think people will realize it is a component of flood control,” said Rob Davis, the city flood control manager.
Contract proposals for the amphitheater facility, a NewBo levee and Union Pacific Railroad work at Quaker Oats were on the agenda, but the council voted only on the contract for the railroad work. Davis said errors in some of the bids for the other two projects required additional time to finalize the proposals.
The values could change on the NewBo levee and restroom facility bids, Davis said, noting the council would likely vote on those contracts at its next meeting March 24. But the construction timelines would not be interrupted.
Brandt Construction of Milan, Ill., was awarded a $626,835 contract for the railroad work, which was below the city’s internal estimate of $910,000. Work would begin this spring and be complete by Sept. 25.
The work is a precursor to a gate closure over the railroad tracks and includes removal of track and pavement, installation of track and a switch and construction of a crossing.
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Knutson Construction, of Iowa City, offered the lowest bid at $3.95 million out of eight applicants to complete the amphitheater’s restroom-storage facility, which the city estimated would cost $4 million.
Construction would begin in May and be complete by May 2021, in time for the summer concert season.
Peterson Contractors, of Reinbeck, had the low bid of $2.16 million out of five proposals for the NewBo levee, which is sometimes called the Lot 44 levee. The three lowest bids came in well below the estimate — about two-thirds of the city’s $2.8 million projection — to complete this phase of the NewBo levee. Work would begin in May and be done by May 2021.
This would install a levee through the lot 44 parking lot on the east side of the Cedar River between Ninth Street and 12th Street SE. The vast majority of the parking lot would be closed during construction.
“Lot 44 will be a very visible project and will go a long way to closing up gaps in that segment,” Davis said. “By the end of 2021, that segment will be (secure) from the CRANDIC railroad at Ninth Avenue through the Sinclair site.”
In other news, the City Council approved a major railroad crossing upgrade at First Avenue E in downtown.
The estimated $1.4 million project would add a raised median, relocation of a pedestrian crossing from the west side of the Union Pacific tracks to the east side, removal of warning lights intended to notify vehicles pedestrians are entering the crosswalk and fencing and landscaping improvements.
This work is seen as prerequisite to additional railroad improvements. Railroad crossing arms have been added along the same tracks at Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth avenues SE. The plan is to eventually apply for a “quiet zone” to reduce train whistles, but that has been pushed back to 2021.
Construction is scheduled to begin this spring and be done by fall 2020.
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