Widening interstate means rising fines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Widening interstate means rising fines

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by Bryan Goettel

JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) - For weeks now construction workers have been widening Interstate 80, near Coralville.

That means drivers need to slow down.  But police say many are not, so they're raising the fine.

The Coralville Police Department says if you get caught going up to ten miles per hour over the speed limit, you will receive a $248 fine. 

Up to 20 over: $446.

Up to 25 over - $710.

And if you drive more than 25 miles over the speed limit, the fine is $1,370.

We've all heard it many times before, from our parents, our spouse...don't speed. But many of us don't listen and continue to drive five, ten miles over the limit. Well, it's time to watch out if you're headed through the construction zone on I-80 around Iowa City.

Coralville Police Officer Rich Smith has spent much of the last three weeks with his radar gun in hand.

"Usually 70 or better is what I'm looking at," said Smith.

Smith is at the west end of the construction zone looking for speeders.

"We have had a number of accidents out there including fatalities," said Sgt. John Williams.

That's why the Iowa Department of Transportation is paying Coralville police for extra duty in the construction zone.

"People around here drive kinda crazy sometimes when they get in a construction zone," said truck driver Theodore Peele.

"It's very critical to slow down," said Brian Poe, of Ankeny, who travels along I-80 several times a week for work.  "It's life-threatening for construction workers."

It doesn't take Officer Smith long to catch someone well over the limit. One woman was caught Tuesday going 76 in a 55. That's $710

"Construction zone fines are pretty hefty," said Smith.

Less than ten minutes after returning to his spot, he finds another. This time, the car is clocked at 72. Good for a $446 fine.

"There's all sorts of different excuses, but the bottom line is they have to pay attention to where they're at in the speed zone," said Smith.

For most drivers, the price of the ticket comes as a very unpleasant surprise. That's how many reacted when KWWL showed them the different fine amounts.

"Wow. That's a lot," said Peele.

"I better watch out," said Bethany Young, of Iowa City.

For many drivers, the penalty for speeding can cost as much as a paycheck. And get used to it. Construction isn't expected to be complete until sometime in the fall.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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