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The City of Altoona has had a busy year of road construction.  We have been all over town installing new roads, widening roads, and refurbishing roads.  Winter will bring a welcome relief to the orange cone obstacle course that has been road construction not only in Altoona but throughout the Des Moines Metro area.

One of the largest roadway projects this year was Phase 1 of the 1st Avenue Reconstruction Project. This three-phase project was initiated with the following goals in mind:

  • add capacity on 1st Avenue;
  • improve safety at the railroad crossing;
  • correct storm drainage issues;
  • underground utilities (where possible);
  • eliminate sidewalk gaps;
  • install multi-duct conduit bank;
  • improve I-80 exit 143;
  • relocate on-street parking to off-street; and,
  • improve safe pedestrian crossings on 1st Avenue at 1st Street and 5th Street intersections.

As we near the end of 2019, Phase 1 of the 1st Avenue project is basically completed.  The city chose to do this portion of the 1st Avenue Reconstruction project because it required the most collaboration with many different organizations to accomplish. We have made every effort to open the street to traffic as quickly as possible, but there will be some work left to complete.  MidAmerican will continue to install streetlights along the corridor and relocate a gas main at 6th Street so that the pedestrian-activated signal can be installed.  Also, sidewalks will continue to be installed along the west side of 1st Avenue North.  During these final stages of construction, one lane in each direction may be closed.  The partial closure may change depending on what construction is taking place, but the corridor will always remain open to through traffic.

The City’s next step is to beginning the engineering planning process for Phase 2. Phase 2 will include widening of 1st Avenue North between 2nd St NW and 9th Street. A roundabout will be installed at 1st Avenue and 9th Street.  This segment will connect the existing four lane sections, making traffic flow along 1st Avenue more consistent. In addition, a roundabout will be installed at 1st Avenue and 9th Street. In 2020, as easements are acquired along 1st Avenue North, Mid-American and other utility companies will relocating their lines in anticipation of road construction scheduled for 2021. The 2020 relocations will not require a road closure but may require some lane closures. In 2021, the city will pave Phase 2, closing the road and detouring traffic but businesses will have access throughout the project.

Phase 3 layout and design has not been started yet and the city is still reviewing lane numbers and configurations in that corridor. Phase 3 is anticipated to be paved in 2022. You can always find out more about the 1st Avenue North project on the City’s website.  Updates will be provided in the “News to Know” section on the first page or more in-depth information is provided under the engineering tab at http://www.altoona-iowa.com/departments/engineering-2/.