- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2016

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Waterloo officials say they’re eager to take ownership from the state of a key - but crumbling - city thoroughfare.

The Iowa Transportation Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to transfer ownership of University Avenue from the state to the city, along with funding to help pay for improvements to the road, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/2b1QUPN ).

“We were waiting for this to happen,” said Mayor Quentin Hart. “We’re going to draw positive energy from this.”

The City Council approved a plan last month to accept the road within 30 days of the state’s approval. The deal includes a state payment to the city of $18 million at the time of the transfer and $5 million more in both 2017 and 2018.

The city will use the money to help rebuild the road, which connects the heart of Waterloo to Cedar Falls.

City planning director Noel Anderson said the city hopes to work on road design options during the fall and winter.

“We want to move as quickly as we can,” he said. “I think we all know that (construction) costs will only go up the longer it goes.”

Officials have already released different design options for the road, including proposals to reduce the number of lanes from six to four, add roundabouts at some intersections and add bicycle accommodations. Citizens will have more opportunities to examine different options and express their views, officials said.

In 2014, the state gave $20 million to Cedar Falls to take control of University Avenue and make improvements to the thoroughfare.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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