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North Liberty Road & Dubuque Street Improvements

Located in North Liberty, IA

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With the Iowa City School District set to open the new Liberty High School in the fall of 2017 and nearby properties preparing for development, the adjacent roads and intersections in North Liberty were going to require upgraded designs to prepare for the influx of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that will accompany the district’s first high school construction since 1968. Bordered by two rural arterial streets with a two-way stop intersection, narrow lanes and sections of gravel roads with poor sight distance, significant improvements would need to take place to provide needed capacity and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. As the new high school site sits at the convergence between the City of North Liberty, the City of Coralville, and Johnson County, significant coordination with the school district and all governmental agencies would be needed to implement this public works project.

Shive-Hattery began the process by conducting traffic counts and completing a traffic study for the City of North Liberty, determining that the area would be best served by a roundabout at the arterial intersection. Concept drawings were prepared and reviewed with each agency showing the roundabout, trail and sidewalk routing, widened roadways with paved shoulders, and turn lanes at each school access. To communicate the project to the public and government entities, Shive-Hattery prepared a 3D fly-through video of the project that the City used on their website and other media outlets to show the completed project. The roundabout was designed as a single lane roundabout with landscaped center island that would accommodate the estimated traffic volumes in the coming years, but that design also took into the account the ability to expand into a two-lane roundabout in the future if needed. The adjacent roadways were designed to eliminate the existing steep peaks and long drop-offs, instead providing improved sight distance, sidewalks and street lighting.

Construction of the intersection and roadways was completed a year in advance of the high school opening. As a result of the design, the arterial intersection that used to experience delays during peak traffic now flows smoothly with signature landscaping features and city gateway signage within the roundabout. Properties surrounding the high school site are now busy with residential and commercial development projects, and the newly reconstructed arterial roadways not only provide safer travel to and from the high school, but provide the transportation backbone for this emerging area of North Liberty.

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