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Coral Ridge Avenue widening

The current two-lane Coral Ridge Avenue is being reconstructed. Work began Monday, March 12 to widen the street to four lanes from Oakdale Boulevard to Forevergreen Road, and include a 10-foot wide path, new storm sewer system, new and upgraded traffic signals, landscaping features and a pedestrian tunnel north of Oakdale Boulevard. (photo by Cale Stelken)

CORALVILLE– North Liberty’s busiest entryway to the south is finally expanding as Highway 965 Phase 4 begins. Spanning from Oakdale Boulevard to Forevergreen Road, the total reconstruction project kicked off Monday, March 12, in Coralville.

Management and costs
“We are the owner, essentially, of the contract,” said Scott Larson, Assistant City Engineer for the City of Coralville. “But we have been working with North Liberty staff throughout on the design elements, and the City of North Liberty is participating with some funding.”
The project went to bid in January, with a low bid of $8,451,528.03 from Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is contributing $1.7 million, with the balance coming from local funds and assessments, to be provided to both cities for their respective shares of the project. Coralville will contribute $8.2 million to the project, and North Liberty will contribute approximately $1 million, or roughly 12 percent after deducting $212,000 from the DOT allotment, for a total cost of about $8.2 million.

Aesthetics and borders
With regards to the Coral Ridge Avenue/Forevergreen Road intersection, the long-established city limit line becomes admittedly confusing. East of Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville has the entire right of way for Forevergreen Road, while the northwest and southwest corners of the intersection are considered North Liberty frontage.
All along Coral Ridge Avenue will be a 10’ trail, trees and several stormwater bio-retention cells, which are landscaped depressions that capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff to reduce water pollution.
Intersections along the corridor will feature corner aesthetic treatments including limestone blocks, decorative lighting and plants similar to what’s currently featured in Coralville.
“Up at the intersection of Coral Ridge Avenue and Forevergreen Road, both communities are doing something a little bit bigger,” noted Larson.
Upon the project’s completion, commuters heading north will see large North Liberty monuments on the northeast and northwest corners of the intersection; traveling southbound out of North Liberty will be Coralville treatments on their respective corners.
“They’re meant to be kind of gateways into each community, because in a lot areas, it’s hard to tell where you are,” acknowledged Larson. “So in that case, it was agreed upon to have the two North Libertys on the north and the two Coralvilles on the south, just to make it a little more straightforward.”

The widened 1-mile stretch of Coral Ridge Avenue will feature:

·Four lanes (widened from the current two lanes), with a raised center median and dedicated turn lanes at all intersections
·Upgraded traffic signals at both Oakdale Boulevard and Forevergreen Road
·New traffic signals at both University Parkway and Wheaton Road
·New pedestrian tunnel just north of Oakdale Boulevard
·New 10-foot wide path along the west side of Coral Ridge Avenue
·New storm sewer system and stormwater quality enhancements
·Roadway lighting

How it fits into Coralville’s plan
For the City of Coralville, the Coral Ridge Avenue expansion is the final stage of a project spanning over 20 years.
“This is the final phase of Coral Ridge Avenue that the City of Coralville had to reconstruct, essentially between just south of Highway 6 all the way up to Forevergreen Road,” explained Larson.
Its first phase dates back to 1997, when Coralville had a population of just under 13,000 and North Liberty a population of about 4,400. This included a large stretch of Highway 6 out to Coral Ridge Avenue, then underneath Interstate 80 to Commerce Drive. The large phase was completed in 1998, before the opening of Coral Ridge Mall that summer.
About nine years later, the project advanced further north with a reconstructed intersection at Coral Ridge Avenue and Heartland Drive, introducing a large traffic signal truss. The city continued expansion from Heartland Drive up to Oakdale Drive about five years afterward.

How it fits into North Liberty’s plan
For the City of North Liberty, this project inches ever closer to the complete expansion of Ranshaw Way from the heart of town to its southern border. Highway 965 Phase 3, which expands Ranshaw Way from Penn Street to Zeller Street, begins this month. The remainder of the project will likely take two to four additional phases, depending on federal funding availability.
“If we can leverage more federal funding, we can plan for larger projects, thus fewer phases,” explained City of North Liberty Administrator Ryan Heiar. 

As for traffic delays...
Approximated from mid-May through mid-November, one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction on Coral Ridge Avenue through the project corridor. Coral Ridge Avenue traffic will detour using Oakdale Boulevard, Crosspark Road and Wheaton Road to give the contractor full access to this section of the roadway. Despite this inconvenience, the temporary closure will speed up the overall project timeline.
Access to businesses will be maintained at all times, and pedestrian access will be maintained using temporary surfacing and channelizing barriers.

Completion dates
Substantial completion, making the reconstructed Coral Ridge Avenue open to traffic with all traffic signals installed, is expected by the end of November 2018.
“We will definitely be doing work on the corridor next spring, but at that point, we really hope that that’s trees and some of the stormwater bio-retention cell plantings and things like that that won’t really impact traffic at all,” Larson said. He added the two cities are committed to completing Coral Ridge Avenue and Forevergreen Road improvements prior to the Iowa DOT opening the Forevergreen Road interchange, expected for completion in 2019.

CRA overall staging plan.pdf513.39 KB