Update: University Avenue project extended - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Update: University Avenue project extended

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The second half of the University Avenue project will take twice as long to complete than expected.

Business owners are saying it's bad news for them, but organizers are saying it's good news for taxpayers.

Organizers say the longer time frame will mean cheaper bids.

With final bids expected to come in this February, the construction crews will focus on Cedar Heights to Midway, and Hillcrest to Rownd in 2017.

They will wrap up with the project from Cedar Heights to Rownd in 2018.

Just when business owners started breathing a sign of relief with phase one wrapping up in Cedar Falls, they learned they could be affected more than they they initially expected.

Rushing traffic is a welcome sound for Erika Nielsen, manager of the new Shear Trust Salon on University.

Shear Trust will be directly impacted by both phases of the project.

"I'm glad it's at a standstill right now.  Business has picked up definitely since," Nielsen said.

Erika said the new business took a hit while starting throughout phase one.

"The make-shift roundabout up on Waterloo is not really conducive for people figuring it out," Nielsen said.

Adding, news of an extended phase two means less new business for her new business.

"Does it sound like a future headache? Absolutely! But, we make it work," Nielsen said.

Shear Trust cosmetologists are dealing with a packed parking lot now that University Avenue reopened on both sides, but once phase two starts in the spring, business will be impacted again.

"Is it frustrating? Absolutely, but it's a situation where there's not a whole heck of a lot we can do about. That's just kind of how it sits," Nielsen said.

Final bids for phase two should be in this coming February, breaking ground in the spring, and wrapping up in 2018.

A better time frame will be laid out once a contractor is named this coming February.

Organizers emphasize the project will improve pedestrian access throughout University Avenue.

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