Fans heading Saturday to Jack Trice Stadium for the annual Cy-Hawk football game will be able to “flyover” the Interstate 35-Highway 30 interchange on their way into Ames.
A $23 million flyover bridge should improve traffic flow and safety at the interchange that was not built 55 years ago to accommodate the number of vehicles using the cloverleaf loop ramp on a typical day today — let alone the day of an Iowa-Iowa State football game.
“It will create safer movement for people coming from Des Moines to Ames,” said Jesse Tibodeau, the Ames district construction engineer. “Safety was the big driver for this project.”
About 44,000 vehicles pass through the interchange on I-35 and 32,000 on Highway 30, according to Iowa DOT. About 7,200 vehicle use the westbound I-35 ramp.
ISU-UI fans traveling from the south up to Ames will need to use the new exit that is almost a mile south of the previous exit. The cloverleaf loop from northbound I-35 to westbound U.S. 30 will be closed.
The opening of the flyover bridge comes about 10 months after it was scheduled for completion, and not quite as soon as the Iowa DOT director promised state lawmakers.
The project, scheduled for completion in November 2018, was delayed because anchor bolts that connect the bridge piers and girders were not installed properly, Tibodeau explained.
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Questioned by lawmakers in January, Director Mark Lowe said that problem had been corrected and “we should be on track for the spring construction season to be able to pour that bridge deck and get that open before the football season.”
The football season opened Aug. 31 — about two weeks before the flyover was completed.
The delay cost the contractor, Minnowa Construction, a penalty of $5,500 a day, according to Iowa DOT.
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