Sports

Iowa football game day traffic: What you need to know about construction, parking, tailgating

Park Road Bridge to open before Saturday's home opener, Dubuque Street still two lanes

Work continues on the new Park Road bridge and the Gateway Project in Iowa City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. The new Park Road bridge will open to vehicles and pedestrians on Saturday morning. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Work continues on the new Park Road bridge and the Gateway Project in Iowa City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. The new Park Road bridge will open to vehicles and pedestrians on Saturday morning. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone renovation isn’t the only major construction project debuting to Hawkeye fans Saturday — so will Iowa City’s new Park Road Bridge.

The bridge will open at 6 a.m. Saturday, hours before the University of Iowa kicks off its season opener at 2:30 p.m. against Northern Illinois.

Work on Dubuque Street, a major artery into downtown Iowa City, will continue for another four to six weeks before the Gateway Project is finished, but it’s open to game day traffic. Road construction on Coralville’s First Avenue will also affect game day traffic.

Game day traffic

Despite the construction on Dubuque Street, Iowa City staff members hesitate to suggest fans use another route to get into the city because it can handle the most traffic.

“If we push people in one specific direction, it kind of overloads that road. So we just put it out there that we suggest taking a different route or just allowing additional time and patience,” said Melissa Clow, special project administrator.

First Avenue in Coralville is also undergoing construction during football season. The university’s game day website encourages drivers to avoid that route and use other routes to get to Kinnick, such as Dubuque Street or Melrose Avenue.

The Hawkeye Express train is also available to travel to Kinnick, with pickup starting three hours before kickoff at the James Street depot in Coralville, in front of IHOP on Second Street. Parking is free at nearby lots and Coral Ridge Mall, and round-trip tickets are $15 each or free for children 12 and younger. The train begins return routes from Kinnick at the start of the fourth quarter and continues for 90 minutes after the game.

After the game, Dubuque Street will convert to one-way outbound traffic for an hour or as long as needed. Clow said the city found that fans’ arrival on game days are more disbursed so Dubuque Street will remain two-way before the game.

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The one-way change will affect the Manville Heights bus route. Iowa City Transit will run a special shuttle service for those traveling to the Peninsula neighborhood area.

A complete list of road construction projects around the city can be found under the “quick links” tab on the city’s website, icgov.org.

Gateway Project history

The new Park Road Bridge and construction on Dubuque Street is part of a two-year effort to raise the roads, known as the Gateway Project, a flood mitigation project in direct response to the 2008 floods.

Once complete, Dubuque Street will be 10 feet taller than the previous roadway, or 1 foot above the 100-year flood stage. The new bridge, which replaces old Park Road Bridge, is 1 foot above the 200-year flood stage.

The Park Road Bridge access point was temporarily finished to accommodate RAGBRAI support vehicles during the event’s Iowa City stop in July.

Early Gateway Project estimates aimed for a completion date of August 2018. Clow said, however, the schedule is by working days, not calendar days, and the last schedule she received from the contractor in 2017 outlines the completion date, or when all four lanes will be open, as November of this year.

“I would still say that it is on schedule,” Clow said. “We’re ahead of that schedule that they gave us by quite a bit.”

Tailgating information

For those planning to tailgate, a full list of parking lots, road closures and rules can be found on the university’s game day website, footballgameday.hawkeyesports.com.

Portions of Evashevski Drive, First Avenue, Hawkins Drive and Melrose Avenue will be closed as well as the Myrtle Avenue and Riverside Drive intersection.

Public parking for $20 can be found at a number of different areas including Finkbine, Lot 65, Myrtle Avenue lot and lot 3, among others. Free lots with shuttles are at Hancher Auditorium, Hawkeye Commuter Lot and Hall of Fame lot.

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For tailgating in the UI parking lots, beer and wine can be consumed. Open bars, kegs or other large amounts of alcohol are not allowed.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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