First Avenue Corridor Redevelopment
*ACEC Iowa, 2012 Engineering Achievement Award, APWA Iowa, Project of the Year Award
First Avenue is a regionally significant corridor, connecting I-80 with Coralville and Iowa City. Motorists and pedestrians use First Avenue to access the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Veterans Hospital, UI Kinnick Stadium, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, UI’s west campus facilities and activities, western Iowa City and the many hospitality facilities along First Avenue and Highway 6 in Coralville.
HR Green began studying the corridor in the late 1990s, recommending conversion of the four-lane undivided facility to a five-lane section with pedestrian accommodations on both sides of the roadway; integrating the improvements into and enhancing the accessibility to the adjacent commercial properties. Projects are currently in various stages of implementation.
Then in the early 2000s, the redevelopment of an area locally known as the Iowa River Landing (IRL) began, located immediately east of First Avenue and south of I-80. The IRL is a 150-acre area under redevelopment from its former use as an industrial park. HR Green performed various traffic impact studies and street network planning studies to integrate multi-modal solutions, develop a pedestrian friendly street network and develop landscape architectural themes. The IRL master plan includes an intermodal transit facility, a roundabout and park and ride facilities which will collectively help facilitate the economic redevelopment of the area and provide sustainable transportation alternatives throughout the region.
HR Green is currently performing an Interchange Justification Report to identify and gain approval for interchange modifications to the I-80 and First Avenue interchange. The First Avenue corridor currently carries 21,000 vehicles per day and the IRL redevelopment is expected to increase travel by 28,000 trips per day, placing increased demands on the interchange. A Synchro/Simtraffic traffic operations model was developed for the entire First Avenue corridor and adjacent intersections to evaluate traffic signal progression and optimize the corridor improvements.