City Makes Plans for Extra Road Work After Voters Pass Sales Tax Extension

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The city is preparing to kick off several much-needed street repair projects.

The city will pay for the work with the one percent local option sales tax voters extended in November.

The city is calling the program "Paving for Progress." Crews are tentatively planning to tackle 19 projects across the city's four quadrants.

The tax doesn't kick in until July, but the city has made arrangements to get to work as soon as possible and begin repairs this spring.

As soon as city crews and engineers got the word that the sales tax passed, they rushed to get projects going. Some people are already getting letters in the mail warning them about a busy construction season ahead near their homes.

"We are very excited about it. This road and the surrounding area are all in pretty bad shape," Siebel said.

Siebel doesn't like road construction, but getting a letter in the mail saying her road, 19th St. SE, was among the list of summer projects didn't bother her much at all.

"It can't be as bad as having to deal with six months of snow, it'll be great just to know that they are getting it cleaned up and getting the roads back into shape," Siebel said.

With all the puddles and potholes, the city said people will see a lot of changes starting this construction season. People will especially see a lot of work in residential areas.

"It is going to be a very aggressive program this season, and we are going to get as much done as we can with those additional funds," said Cedar Rapids Public Works Director David Elgin.

Elgin said, in the past, the city had to use funding for roads with higher volumes of traffic. That means projects on residential roads often had to wait. This summer, however, the sales tax dollars will allow crew to fix some of those problem areas.

"In a normal year we would do about 30 to 40 various types of street projects. With that increased funding that was approved by the local option sales tax referendum last fall, the 'Paving for Progress' program is going to over double those number of street projects in this construction season," Elgin said.

As for Siebel, she said fixing streets in her Southeast Cedar Rapids neighborhood is one of the best things that can happen.

"It's going to make a big difference when you start having better roads to drive on," Siebel said.

The city said this is just the first year of the ten year program. The work made possible by the sales tax dollars this construction season is expected to add up to about ten million dollars.

Check out the list of tentative projects here:
http://www.cedar-rapids.org/government/departments/public-works/streetmaintenance/Pages/PavingforProgress.aspx
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