116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
State transportation officials anticipate making upgrades - which could include widening - to an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 80 east of Iowa City.
Cathy Cutler, transportation planner with the Iowa Department of Transportation's District 6 office in Cedar Rapids, said specific upgrades have not been decided, but one of the more likely options could include adding two lanes to the four-lane interstate.
'That will be one of the options under study,” Cutler said. 'I would say that's probably the most likely outcome, but we can't presuppose it prior to doing all our investigations.”
To determine what updates are appropriate, Iowa DOT has begun a study for the portion of I-80, which extends from about 1.5 miles west of Herbert Hoover Highway to east of West Branch at Charles Avenue, in Johnson and Cedar counties.
Cutler said growing traffic numbers - the portion of I-80 north of Iowa City carried an average of more than 30,000 daily drivers in 2014, according to DOT data - and addressing safety are key reasons for interstate upgrades.
Iowa DOT will hold a public meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m., July 21, in Coralville Public Library's Schwab Auditorium, 1401 Fifth St. The open forum will provide discussion on proposed improvements to I-80.
Cutler said the study will take a look at any possible effects of upgrades on the environment or nearby residents as well as take inventory of existing overpasses or interchanges.
Improvement recommendations could be made in about a year and a half, Cutler said.
'I'd say we'll have alternatives developed by then and probably one selected, but we do have funding on the horizon for this one,” Cutler said.
The state's fiscal year 2017-2021 Iowa Transportation Improvement Plan has $30 million slotted for 'grade and pave” improvements to the eight-mile stretch of I-80.
Immediately to the west of the study area is a portion of interstate - from the I-80/Interstate-380 interchange to about one mile west of the I-80/Highway 1 interchange - that was expanded from four lanes to six about three years ago.
According to DOT crash data, the portion of I-80 that has six lanes saw 223 crashes - one fatal - in 2014, and 188 - two fatal - last year. There had been 66 crashes - one fatal - as of July 1 this year.
The length of I-80 just to the east, where the study area covers, saw 96 crashes in 2014, 64 crashes in 2015 and 40 as of July 1 this year. There were no fatal crashes in that time period.