116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A new ramp and exit change are coming Thursday morning for drivers traveling south on Interstate 380 to Interstate 80, as work continues on the massive reconstruction of the Interstates 80 and 380 interchange.
The new I-380 southbound to I-80 westbound ramp is opening, which will simplify the interchange, according to an update from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Thursday’s traffic switch is another milestone for the interchange project because everything will be on new pavement, apart from two ramp crossovers, said Hugh Holak, resident construction engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Earlier this year, in August, the last loop ramp closed and the flyover ramp from I-380 southbound to I-80 eastbound opened.
Come Thursday morning, southbound traffic on I-380 to will use one exit — Exit 0 — to travel in either direction on I-80. The exit point for Exit 0 will be about a quarter mile earlier than expected.
“That double exit southbound will finally go away,” Holak said.
After exiting, traffic will split into two depending on which direction they plan to travel on I-80. Drivers heading east toward Davenport should keep left and use the new flyover ramp that opened in August. Holak said the east ramp opened to two lanes instead of one last week.
Anyone heading west on I-80 toward Des Moines should keep right.
“That's our concept on all the legs of it,” Holak said. “When we're all done, it's going to be you choose to exit — that's your first choice — and your second choice is do I want to go east or west? North or south?”
Drivers who miss the new exit can follow a detour to turn around at Melrose Avenue, which is exit 93.
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.
Construction crews will soon wrap up paving operations for the year as the temperatures at night continue to get cooler, Holak said. The focus will be on removing old pavement to prepare for paving in the spring. Pavement removal, unlike paving, can continue “until it gets bitter cold,” Holak added.
Last year, crews were doing removals and grading up until Christmas, which put the project in a good position for 2022, Holak said.
Crews will start removing the old westbound pavement on Thursday.
“When the weather turns nice in the spring, we'll be ready to start paving and be able to get a big jump on next year's work,” Holak said.
Work on the interchange project is expected to continue through 2024, with final erosion control expected in 2025.
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