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Cascade project set to start early April

February 10, 2012

Starting in early April, Cascade Avenue will begin construction for the finalized plan of the Cascade Project for a more convenient transportation route.

The updated Cascade Avenue Project found on the UW-River Falls website, says that construction is expected to begin April 2 and will be finished by mid-November 2012. Landscape for the project should be finished in the summer of 2013.

Mike Stifter, director of facilities management, said that the street has been in need of repair for some time and the overall intent is to improve pedestrian safety and transportation on Cascade Avenue.

“The roadway was not in good condition and was in need of repair. Factor in the necessity to also improve all of the utilities in the corridor from water, electrical and telecommunications and it became an almost must do,” Stifter said.

Much of the infrastructure is over 70-years-old and is inadequate and failing, said Reid Wronski, city engineer. During the time of construction, the parking office is considering a $5 a week permit for the remaining portion of the semester, Stifter said. For those who are currently parking in a lot around campus, including Q lot, should stay intact for the rest of spring semester. Roughly 43 spots will remain on the east end of Cascade for the spring semester.

Student lots will continue to be offered for free during the summer, and in the fall semester, Q lot will be open to daily commuters and permit holders. For spots lost on Cascade, there will be additional spots in Q lot.

“It’s designed to be even versus a net loss or gain,” Stifter said. “For those still wishing to park for free on city streets, you will likely park further from campus than you do now.” “It’s going to be frustrating because there is already so much competition to park, so to do construction where a majority of the parking is, isn’t ideal. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end,” said junior Courtney Hintermeyer, who drives to campus.

Two roundabouts will be put in on Cascade, one on the west end where Cascade Avenue meets with Oak Street, which will have three outlets, and another on the east side where Cascade Avenue meets with Sixth Street with four outlets. In the middle of both roundabouts as well as dividing lanes, there will be landscaped raised medians, according to the UWRF website. With construction, about 45 trees are being taken down but, in the end, 130 trees will be put up within the landscape, Wronski said.

More sidewalks are being added on both sides of Cascade Avenue as well as around the roundabouts. Wronski points out that there can not be construction without an inconvenience.

“We’re trying to put in a facility to balance both things, the pedestrian and the driver. A project that’s a complete balance, trying to improve it for them and balance it for everyone,” Wronski said. “Mass majority of people will stand back three years from now and look at it and say this is a positive outcome; hassles and inconveniences were worth it.”