116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Drivers traveling south on Interstate 380 should be prepared for a significant change Friday morning as an old ramp closes and a new flyover ramp opens — a big milestone for the massive reconstruction of the Interstates 80 and 380 interchange.
The existing loop that connected I-380 southbound to I-80 eastbound will close permanently as the new flyover ramp opens. The exit toward I-80 eastbound will now be about half a mile earlier on I-380.
This is the last of the loop ramps to close within the interchange, and it is the second flyover ramp to open. The flyover ramp uses a new, elevated bridge.
“The safety hazard with the loops is what was driving the whole project in the first place, and the last one will finally be gone,” said Hugh Holak, resident construction engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Holak said the Iowa DOT anticipates some initial confusion with the exit toward I-80 eastbound — Exit 0A toward Iowa City — being about half a mile earlier.
For drivers, that means the exit toward Iowa City will now be before the exit for I-80 westbound. The westbound exit — Exit 0B toward Des Moines — will remain in the same location.
“This is going to be one of our more confusing moves because by the time you realize you've missed (the exit), you’ve missed it by three-quarters of a mile,” Holak said.
“Once traffic gets used to this move, it shouldn't be a real issue at all anymore,” he added.
For those who miss the exit, the Iowa DOT suggests using Exit 0B, to the west, to detour to Ireland Avenue, which is Exit 237 on I-80. Motorists can also detour south to Melrose Avenue, which is Exit 93. An online map shows the two detours that can be used to turn around.
Signs will be changed overnight to help drivers navigate the changes. There also will be extra law enforcement to help out with any confusion, Holak said.
“The first day is likely to overpopulate Melrose,” Holak said. “By Monday, it should be fine. Everybody will know where they're going.”
The work is part of a $387 million interchange project, which is at the junction of I-80, I-380 and Highway 218 in Johnson County. It is one of Iowa Department of Transportation’s top priorities.
The project is in its fourth year of construction. The multiyear project will replace all four loops of the interchange with directional ramps. Additionally, parts of I-380 north of I-80 and parts of Highway 218 south of I-80 will be widened, as will I-80 on both sides of the interchange.
Work on the interchange project is expected to continue through 2024, with final erosion control expected in 2025.
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