Cedar Falls Council moves forward with University Ave. study - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls Council moves forward with University Ave. study

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The Cedar Falls City Council took the next step when it comes to rebuilding University Ave.

Efforts are underway to rebuild the 5-mile stretch from Highway 63 in Waterloo to Highway 58 in Cedar Falls.

The council approved a resolution to move forward with a federal environmental assessment study.

That study is on the premise of an option that includes reducing University Ave. from 6 to 4 lanes, including an on-street bike lane, and installing roundabouts at up to 12 intersections.

Business leaders are concerned roundabouts may lead people to steer clear of University and use other roads, reducing the amount of people likely to stop at their business.

They say roundabouts wouldn't effectively handle the amount and type of traffic on University, including semis.

Cycling enthusiasts and those in favor of the roundabouts say it would be safer than the alternative of making University Ave. 4 lanes with optimized traffic signals.

Monday night's vote does not bind the city to either option.

In fact, the design process won't start until at the earliest, this Fall.

The cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls would both be involved in the design, which could involve either of the options currently proposed by the Iowa DOT, or some other design developed by the cities.

"This is not a decision on so many roundabouts or median or no median or bike paths. It's just they have to clear an area to look at for environmental concerns so that's part of the federal process requirement. I know there's concerns about are we approving that design. No, we're approving the footprints which allows all the flexible points to look at all of the things that might be done in the future," said Cedar Falls mayor Jon Crews.

The environmental assessment by the Federal Highway Administration should be done by October.

There will be many more public hearings and council meetings in both Cedar Falls and Waterloo before any design is picked.

There's no start date for construction planned because there still isn't any federal or state transportation money officially designated for the proposal.

Part of that also hinges on the fact the state and the two cities are negotiating on a plan for a transfer of jurisdiction for University Avenue.

The state currently controls University Avenue but wants to give that control back to the respective cities because state officials say it's not considered a state highway.

That would make the cities responsible for maintenance and things like snow removal.

Those negotiations are taking place not but it's not clear how long that may take.

To see the two options currently being proposed for University Avenue, click here.

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