Coralville to explore new interchange - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Coralville to explore new interchange

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Those who drive through the First Avenue/ Interstate 80 interchange in Coralville on a daily basis rarely face severe traffic problems.

But projections 10 to 20 years down the line call for traffic trends to change significantly.

"We may be at risk of backing traffic up on to Interstate 80," said Scott Larson, the city's assistant engineer.

The area around First Avenue continues to grow rapidly, led by the recent development of the Iowa River Landing. 

The district will be home to a University of Iowa hospital outpatient clinic which is projected alone to bring in 300 thousand patient visits a year.

"You consider will there be additional clinics down there?  What additional redevelopments will we see down there?  So we really need to be conscious of the ultimate development of that entire area," Larson said.

Under the plan, the First Avenue exit will be developed into a partial clover leaf, eliminating left hand turns onto the on-ramps leading to the Interstate, and providing direct access into the Iowa River Landing.  The design will help handle higher traffic capacity. 

Tuesday night, council members are expected to support pursuing a federal grant that would pay for the city's part of the project's $2 million design.

"We've always discussed how we want to work with that particular interchange, just like we did with the Coralville mall before it opened, just to accommodate the increased needs that we see coming," said Coralville city council member and mayor pro-tem John Lundell.

The design phase is expected to take at least two years.  Construction of the new interchange would cost $24 million.

 

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