Construction on the Interstate 380 and 80 interchange is just ramping up its initial phase of construction, but this is only the beginning for changes and possible delays on the route.
Right now, crews are piling steel into the ground, which will eventually help support new bridges on the interchange and replace the old clover-like loops. The interchange will become a turbine interchange, which means those bridges will act as directional ramps where cars can maintain a 50 to 55 mph speed on them. Trucks will still be able to maintain up to 40 mph on the new system.
The entire project could be sped up by two years and be completed by 2023 or sooner. That's in part because the Iowa Department of Transportation received $50 million in federal grant money this year.
Though crews are in the initial process of construction, some closures are still expected on the ramps in the night time to be able to transport steel equipment to the site. There will also be more road work on the shoulder of the interstate in 2019. A similar project on the construction of Forevergreen Road and it's exit off I-380 will be completed by Fall 2019.
Most of the traffic delays, however, will be later in 2020, but the DOT wants people to start thinking about what that could mean for their commute and future trips down to Hawkeye football games.
"We're going to be communicating to football traffic ticket holders, so we're trying to get out the word that 'yes you're going to be delayed'," said Transportation Planner Catherine Cutler. "But that you're best able to deal with that. If it's leaving earlier, staying longer to tailgate, [or] however you're going to need to deal with it. There will be delays and detours with this project."
The Iowa DOT will be hosting more informational meetings on the interchange project in 2019. Information on those meetings and resources to access information on delays and closures are located on the Iowa DOT website.
The DOT does not anticipate the project will have much of an impact on holiday traffic this weekend but Cutler said drivers may want to take notice of the work zone construction signs. Speeding in a work zone could double your fines.