Many questions surround University Avenue facelift - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Many questions surround University Avenue facelift

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A major roadway in Black Hawk County could be getting a facelift.  Last year, a major study of University Avenue wrapped up.  And now, plans to completely reconstruct that road have taken a step forward.

University Avenue is in such bad shape that simply repaving it would only be a band-aid fix.  So that's why Waterloo and Cedar Falls teamed up to study the best ways to repair the road.  It's one of the proposals for how to fix it that's been drawing a lot of attention.

If you've ever driven on University Avenue, you know there are a lot of bumps in the road.  And repairing it will be no easy task.

"It is going to take some type of reconstruction, major reconstruction," said Kevin Blanshan, INRCOG transportation director.

Thursday, the Metropolitan Planning Committee agreed to do work on University Avenue as part of its four year transportation plan.  Right now, exactly how the new University Avenue will look is still up for discussion.  But the first phase of the study includes a controversial proposal:  cutting the number of lanes from six down to four, and adding roundabouts at a few intersections.

"I can't even imagine that on University--maybe you can, maybe they can.  But it doesn't look feasible to us," one woman at the planning committee meeting said.

But actually making changes to the busy thoroughfare is still a long ways off.  That's because reconstructing University Avenue is such a big undertaking, several more studies about the impact to drivers of making changes will still have to be done.  And then there's the question of where the money comes from to pay for it all.

The Iowa Department of Transportation wants to get those studies completed so that work on the multi-million dollar reconstruction can begin once state and federal dollars become available.

Finishing up the required studies will take at least four years, so if the funding is appropriated, it will be at least 2015 before a University Avenue makeover gets underway.

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