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Residents weigh in on I-80 interchange design options

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The Iowa Department of Transportation hosted a public meeting in Iowa City to discuss with residents about two designs options for the interchange at Interstate 80 and Herbert Hoover Highway.

Residents who use the current I-80 and Herbert Hoover Highway interchange brought many questions, concerns and positive feedback. Both design options make it possible to widen I-80 from four lanes to six, which is an idea that will cost around $30 million.

The two proposed options were a standard diamond interchange, which includes additional costs to operate and maintain traffic signals, or a roundabout entry point between the two highways.

Iowa DOT said the roundabout option takes up less land to build and is roughly $3 million cheaper than the standard interchange.

Farmers in attendance were worried a roundabout may restrict farm vehicles based on their size, but DOT officials and some residents say this modern-day option will accommodate everyone and improve safety.

"The older interchanges of getting on and off the highways were designed in the 50s and 60s," said Business Owner Mike Drapac. "I think are very very dangerous because you have to make an abrupt transition of speed."

"If you come up to a signal, some people run a hard yellow or a soft red as they call it," said Catherine Culter, Iowa DOT Transportation Planner. "Some people don't actually see the light at all and just go right through, so the roundabout physically makes you slow down, so that's probably its greatest safety advantage."

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