Government

Portions of Forevergreen Road exit open to local traffic

Crews work to lift a concrete girder with a 110 ton crane as traffic is stopped on I-380 southbound while work continues on the Forevergreen Road interchange on I-380 in North Liberty on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018. Crews worked from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. to install concrete girders, 141 feet long and 60 tons in weight, over I-380. Traffic was stopped for 20 minute periods to allow them to install the beams. (The Gazette)
Crews work to lift a concrete girder with a 110 ton crane as traffic is stopped on I-380 southbound while work continues on the Forevergreen Road interchange on I-380 in North Liberty on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018. Crews worked from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. to install concrete girders, 141 feet long and 60 tons in weight, over I-380. Traffic was stopped for 20 minute periods to allow them to install the beams. (The Gazette)

NORTH LIBERTY — Ramps on the south side of the Forevergreen Road overpass are open, with the north side ramps not far behind.

However, with few places to go from the overpass because of construction, officials are asking that only local traffic use the ramps.

“We don’t want to encourage traffic ... and then they come in there and there’s nowhere to go,” said Hugh Holak, resident construction engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The entrance ramp from Forevergreen Road to southbound Interstate 380 opened two weeks ago, Holak said. Wednesday night, crews opened the ramp from northbound Interstate 380 to Forevergreen Road. Holak said he hopes to have ramps serving the north side of the overpass open next week.

But, even if drivers could get onto Forevergreen Road, it wouldn’t take them to many places at the moment, Holak said.

To the west, a detour will take motorists to the back side of a new development in Tiffin, but not to Highway 6. Using Jasper Avenue NW, a gravel road, “you can find your way to the back side of Tiffin,” Holak said.

Heading east on Forevergreen Road, motorists quickly will find the street closed between Covered Bridge Boulevard and South Jones Boulevard, cutting off access to Highway 965. Kansas Avenue NE, which heads north from Forevergreen Road, is open, Holak said.

Having the interchange open will help some local traffic in the area, however.

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“There are a couple of neighborhoods that are real difficult to get to because of the closures,” Holak said. “Having access to the ramps will greatly benefit a few of the residents.”

Holak said the hope is to have Forevergreen Road open to Highway 965 by winter.

Shortly after all ramps are open on the interchange, the Department of Transportation will close a portion of Interstate 380 at night to tear out the old Forevergreen Road Bridge, which is about 75 feet south of the new road.

Holak said motorists on Interstate 380 will circumvent the closure by using the new exit and entrance ramps at Forevergreen Road.

Similarly, the new Forevergreen Road will be used to help motorists circumvent a “substantial closure” of Interstate 80 at night related to the Interstate 80-Interstate 380 interchange. Holak said the Forevergreen Road exit and Melrose Avenue exit on Highway 218 will allow nighttime eastbound and westbound motorists to circumvent the closure on Interstate 80.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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