A long-planned extension of 18th Street SW — from Wilson Avenue SW to 13th Avenue SW — will create a direct route from 33rd Avenue SW to First Avenue SW. And that open up more land for development between Highway 30 and Wilson Avenue SW.
When the extension of 33rd Avenue SW from 12th Street SW to 18th Street SW opened in October 2010, it provided a long-sought direct route from Interstate 380 to the area around Westdale Mall. Motorists had needed to use either Wilson Avenue SW or take Highway 30 west to Edgewood Road SW.
The 33rd Avenue SW extension also led to development of new single-family homes north and west of the intersection with 18th Street SW. Townhouses also have been constructed on the northeast corner of 18th Street and 33rd Avenue SW.
After funding dried up because of the flood of 2008 and the recession, it’s now back on track.
Doug Wilson, capital improvements project manager for the city of Cedar Rapids, said bids should be sought in the winter of 2014-2015 for the 18th Street SW extension.
“Right now, we’re in the process of acquiring right of way,” Wilson said. “We would expect construction to occur in 2015.”
Wilson said widening and paving of 18th Street SW from 33rd Avenue SW to Wilson Avenue SW likely will depend on how much traffic is diverted from other routes.
“Once we get the piece open north of Wilson Avenue and we see the need to improve that stretch, it will probably rise up to a higher priority,” Wilson said. “If we’re expending an inordinate amount of time and money to maintain what is currently a seal-coated road, we will likely look to pave and widen it.”
Cedar Rapids City Council member Scott Olson sees the 18th Street SW extension bringing about additional development to what he terms a “hidden area” north of Highway 30 and south of Wilson Avenue SW.
“There are several pieces of farm ground between 33rd Avenue SW and Wilson Avenue SW that eventually will be developed,” Olson said. “That’s the natural infill that the city wants to pursue.
“Some day, all the land along 18th Street SW that is underutilized will be developed. That will really change the overall demographics of the area.”
Wilson said state and federal grants have been secured to help fund construction of the 18th Street SW extension to 13th Avenue. He said the city will pay for the remainder of the project, which the Iowa Department of Transportation has projected to cost $2.3 million.