Final phase of University Avenue project gets green light

WATERLOO — Councilman Pat Morrissey lost his bid for a skinnier University Avenue.

Waterloo City Council members voted 6-1 Monday to approve plans and set a Feb. 27 bid opening for the final stage of the University Avenue reconstruction project.

The design calls for the roadway to be reduced from six to four lanes when it is rebuilt from just east of Ansborough Avenue to U.S. Highway 63 and includes a roundabout intersection at Fletcher Avenue.

Morrissey had unsuccessfully pushed to reduce the stretch between Fletcher and U.S. 63 to two lanes, noting the change would save $500,000 and still handle projected traffic volumes.

Morrissey unsuccessfully tried to postpone the vote for a week so he could review the construction plans.

But Mayor Quentin Hart called the situation “kind of embarrassing,” noting plans for the project were presented to council members in a work session last week.

“We’ve been talking about University Avenue,” Hart said. “They made PowerPoint presentations.”

City Engineer Jamie Knutson said delaying a vote would add costs to redo documents and potentially move the city out of a favorable bidding environment.

“I would really urge council to vote on this tonight and let us get this out to bid,” Knutson said. “There are consequences and extra costs that we will incur if council postpones this for another week.”

Contractors have mostly completed the first phase of the University project, rebuilding the roadway from Greenhill Road to just east of Ansborough. The second phase from Greenhill west to Midway Drive will be in its second year of construction in 2020.

The final eastern phase also includes work on the Greenhill Road bridge and a number of decorative features. Construction is expected to begin this spring and will include a full closure from Fletcher to U.S. 63 due to the demolition of a former railroad bridge.

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