City of Cedar Falls Receives Recognition for University Avenue Construction Project

posted on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 in The Cedar Valley Community

ThUniversity Avenue in Cedar Falls Iowa Receives State-Wide and International Recognition for Construction Workose here in the Cedar Valley, and the State of Iowa, know that when the temperatures outside start to increase so does construction work. One construction project here in the Cedar Valley is receiving state-wide and international recognition, University Avenue in Cedar Falls. 

At the beginning of August, Cedar Falls won the 2019 All-Star Community Award from the Iowa League of Cities and is now competing as a finalist in the Roads and Highways category of Bently System, Incorporated Year in Infrastructure 2019 Awards Program. Construction work on this project began in March of 2016 and was completed in 2018. 

2019 All-Star Community Award

City Administrator, Ron Gaines said there "was no doubt" that University Avenue was in need of a facelift. The city conducted extensive research before moving forward with construction, looked at temporary options and visited other cities like Johnson, Iowa, who recently installed roundabouts, and Carmel, Indiana, which has the most roundabouts per capita than any other city in the United States.

Construction work began in March 2016 for University Avenue and was divided into three phases. Phase 1 spanned from Grove Street east to McClain Drive. Phase 2 construction kicked off in Spring 2017 and was planned as a two-year project.  The first year completed the area between McClain Drive and just east of Rownd Street. The second-year picked up from there and stretched east almost to Midway Drive.  In 2018, Phase 3 construction was completed at Highway 58/University Avenue interchange.

“We are excited to have been selected for this (All-Star Community) award,” said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, Cedar Falls Director of Community Development. “The reconstruction of University Avenue was a process which was very important to our city and remains so today, to support businesses, improve safety, and provide multi-modal opportunities for our community.”

 “The transformation of University Avenue included not only implementing roundabouts as a safer and more eco-friendly solution to traffic lights,” explains Sheetz, “We also incorporated sidewalks, a bike lane, benches and landscaping, as well as mid-block pedestrian crossing signals and pull-outs that allow busses to stop without impeding traffic. All of these updates helped achieve higher safety for pedestrians as well as drivers.”

University Avenue Nominated for International Award

“We are very excited to learn that University Avenue has been selected for a Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2019 award,” said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, Cedar Falls Director of Community Development. “There were almost 600 overall entries from around the globe, which included 58 in Roads and Highway. From all of this, University Avenue made the top three in the category.”

The annual awards program honors extraordinary infrastructure design, construction, and operations throughout the world. 12 independent jury panels of industry experts selected the 54 finalists from 571 nominations submitted by more than 440 organizations in more than 60 countries. Of the 54 total finalists, six come from the United States with Cedar Falls joining San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Houston, TX; Columbia, SC; and Apollo Beach, FL as contenders.

The finalists will present their projects as part of related infrastructure forums at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2019 Conference, which will be held October 21 through October 24, in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Conference Center.

Some content and information taken from the original article written by the City of Cedar Falls.