Paving for Progress begins Nine Miles of CR street repairs

Paving for Progress in Cedar Rapids is planning a construction season which includes nearly $18-Million in street repairs and replacement

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) - Entering the fifth year of Paving for Progress, construction crews are digging into an ambitious plan to replace or repair nearly nine miles of Cedar Rapids streets at a cost of nearly $18 million. Program Director Doug Wilson says there are a total of nearly 30 projects this season, but three stand out as major efforts which could also mean drivers need to alter their commutes. Memorial Drive SE from Bever Avenue to Mount Vernon Road will be totally reconstructed. O Avenue, between Ellis Boulevard and 16th Street will also see a total demolition and rebuild including sewer and utilities.

Wilson says the third major project is Johnson Avenue NW. That’s where an intersection near Hoover School will be redesigned for safety, “ We actually have a traffic safety grant for that project. There have been about 67 collisions over ten years at Wiley and Johnson Avenue, so we’re putting in a roundabout there to help with those crash issues and you will also get a center left turn lane there, that also helps with those rear-end crash issue.”

Parts of O Avenue are so bad they couldn’t even wait for construction to begin. Resident Carla Jordan says crews just started a huge patch right in front of her house. She says workers brought in heavy equipment to remove about 50 feet of the entire right lane which just kept getting worse, “ I want it fixed because it rattles our whole house when everybody hits the bump, our whole house shakes.”

Wilson says city planners are very much aware that major construction to repair and replace neglected streets can be a headache for drivers, residents and business owners. He says they are all doing their best to make information more available and are even doing presentations for community and church groups who want to know more. He says for businesses, they are putting up signs to let customers know they’re open and making an effort to keep two way traffic flowing in those areas, “ We put a priority on maintaining access to businesses and letting them know what’s going on because we understand it’s a hardship on them and we want to limit that as much as possible.”

Paving for Progress is funded through a one cent sales tax approved by Cedar Rapids voters and is expected to generate nearly $200 million for local road construction during its ten years. For more information on the street projects planned for this construction season click here.

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