Patience the Key When It Comes to Improvements on I-380 and I-80
A number of welcome changes are coming to Interstates 380 and 80, but it'll be a long road to get there.
There are several pieces to the puzzle. The first will be a new interstate interchange at I-380 and West Forevergreen Road, between the North Liberty interchange (Penn Street) and I-80. The Iowa Department of Transportation hopes adding that interchange will help alleviate some of the traffic issues associated with a massive project involving the I-380/I-80 interchange. It also will provide another way to the south side of North Liberty, which should be a huge benefit to the city, as well as help relieve some of the congestion on Highway 965. Construction is expected to begin on this portion in 2018.
The next piece, slated to begin in 2019, is the truly massive one. Deconstructing and totally redesigning the current interchange at I-380 and I-80. Gone will be the clover leafs and a new turbine exchange, with 23 bridges, will be built. Yes, 23. That's a lot of loops, with traffic flowing above other traffic. The project will take an estimated five to six years to complete, and will cost around $270 million, according to CBS 2. The four current cloverleafs are shown in gray below and just look at the way things will eventually look. The DOT promises two lanes will remain open in each direction throughout the construction, which in itself, will be an amazing feat.
One other key thing to note is additional lanes that will be part of the finished interstates. Plans call for Highway 218/Interstate 380 to have three lanes in each direction from Melrose Avenue to West Forevergreen Road. According to the Iowa DOT, Interstate 80 will have four lanes in each direction from Highway 965 (Coral Ridge exit) to Ireland Avenue, which is just west of I-380.
I think the plans look great and I'm sure you'll agree the promise of a safer interchange on the west side of Coralville is definitely a good thing. Additional lanes on I-380 and I-80 are also needed in greater distances than are promised here, but it's a start. What's hard to imagine right now, is the entire thing won't be done until, maybe, 2025. And that's IF everything stays on schedule.