116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE - While there were concerns a year ago about progress on the $387 million project to reconfigure the Interstate 80-Interstate 380 interchange, the Iowa Department of Transportation said this month that the massive undertaking is on schedule and on budget.
'A year ago I felt like we were behind overall,” said Hugh Holak, construction engineer with Iowa DOT. 'The summer of 2020 was actually a very dry year. They were able to get a lot more work done than I was anticipating.”
Iowa DOT construction manager Linda Narigon said 2019 was a 'very, very wet year” and said crews were pulled from the project to build emergency levees to fight flooding on either side of the state.
'We're very fortunate last year was a dry year,” Narigon said. 'That really helped them catch up. The project is going well. We are looking to be substantially complete on Interstate 80 and Interstate 380 by the end of calendar 2023.”
The reconstruction project, one of Iowa DOT's top priorities in the state, will eliminate all four loops of the interchange and replace them with directional ramps. Additionally. parts of I-380 north of I-80 and Highway 218 south of there will be widened, as will I-80 on both sides of the interchange.
Both Narigon and Holak said they feel good about the schedule of the project, even on the heels of about a two-week shutdown for extreme cold in February.
Holak said subzero temperatures are hard on the workers and the equipment, and production rates typically drop this time of year.
December 2020 saw the completion of milestones for the project, which kicked of in 2019 and is anticipated to continue through 2024:
' The I-80 to Highway 218 southbound ramp opened Dec. 10, taking drivers on an elevated bridge.
' On Dec. 21, new permanent median paving on Highway 218 and I-380 was complete.
' Two days later, a new flyover ramp from I-80 eastbound to I-380 northbound opened.
The next phase of the project will see more work along I-80 and I-380, Narigon said.
'What's very interesting and tricky besides maintaining traffic and staging the construction is we are lowering I-80 on the west side of 380 approximately 7 feet and raising it east of 380 7 feet,” she said. 'Those grade changes make it challenging for the contractor to lower the interstate while they're maintaining traffic.”
'Significant bridge work” also will be part of the next phase, Narigon said. Six bridges on northbound I-380 will all be worked on this year.
With the work will come impacts for commuters. During peak commute times, drivers could see eight- to 15- minute delays, Narigon said.
'There's going to be a lot of traffic changes here over the next three years,” she said. 'We want people to be alert, be aware and pay attention.”
Closures related to the project include the eastbound I-80 ramp from Ireland Avenue in Tiffin, preventing drivers from going east onto the interstate and instead detouring them on Highway 6 to Coralville.
After that closure - which will last up to three months this summer - the westbound I-80 to southbound I-380 (which becomes Highway 218) loop will be closed, Narigon said.
The reconstructed interchange is expected to spur economic development in the region.
Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said that development already is occurring. Steindler's Orthopedics announced this month it has purchased land at Forevergreen Road and I-380. Recent projects either under construction or proposed near Forevergreen Road and Coral Ridge Avenue are beneficiaries of the improved interchange, he said.
'We're very thrilled about this project,” Narigon said. 'We're very happy it's going on schedule. Good contractors, good commuters that are being respectful.”
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