Cedar Falls University Ave. update presented to council - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls University Ave. update presented to council

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As the University Avenue renovation project moves forward, the Cedar Falls city council received an update at their meeting Monday night.

Director of Community Development Ron Gaines presented the details, after a contentious February meeting.

"The concept you saw in February was really a wide concept," said Gaines.

The council-approved plan includes six roundabouts at high-traffic intersection along the road. Proponents say this will help prevent traffic accidents and injuries. Opponents say the roundabouts will be confusing, and cause accidents.

Regardless, the roundabouts take up more space than conventional intersections, which pushed the city to pursue easements on several properties, including the Hong Kong restaurant and Deery Motors. Now, Gaines said they've worked with both businesses to reduce the roundabout footprint.

Still, some are frustrated. Larry Wyckoff, of Cedar Falls, is a longtime opponent of the project. He said he still doesn't believe the roundabouts are safer, citing an April accident on a roundabout near Janesville, where a combine tipped off a semi trailer.

"That was on a roundabout," Wyckoff said. "What if that had happened at the corner of Valley Park and University Ave? Had fallen on some kid? How safe is a roundabout if we've got tractor trailers falling off the roadbed?"

At the end of his comments, Mayor Jon Crews responded to that, citing hundreds of accidents on Highway 58, which has no roundabouts.

"One accident on one roundabout is reason not to build a roundabout versus 650 [on Hwy 58]?" he asked.

Gaines said they hope to have the project under construction by this time next year. The city is also in talks to apply for a $12 million dollar grant to help fund the project, which Gaines said is on-budget.

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