Drivers, DOT, communities ready for I-380 construction - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drivers, DOT, communities ready for I-380 construction

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

A major construction project is underway on Interstate 380.  The project will start at the US 20 interchange and go just west of River Forest Road in Evansdale.  Crews are re-paving the nearly 6.5 mile long stretch of road.

That part of the highway carries more than 30,000 vehicles a day, including a lot of semi-truck traffic.  With the construction, congestion along the interstate isn't too bad yet.  But drivers, the Iowa Department of transportation, and surrounding communities are preparing for it to get much worse.

Road construction season is now officially underway on I-380, as patching work begins.  Right now, traffic is flowing normally.  But in a few weeks, lanes will begin shutting down so that crews can reconstruct the roadway. 

Gary Edwards passes through the area in driving from Muscatine to Minneapolis to visit family, and he's practicing some patience with all the road work.

"Well, we'll deal with it.  We've got all day.  We've got plenty of time.  We're in no hurry," Edwards said.

That's the attitude Iowa DOT hopes all drivers will take to avoid work zone accidents, which have killed 13 people in the past two years.

"The key thing is watch for the signing.  As you approach these work zones, follow what the sign says.  And watch for the workers," said Mark Bortle, Iowa DOT office of construction safety engineer. "Sometimes they're working as close as one to two foot from the opening of traffic."

The DOT is also urging you to avoid the construction zones if possible.

"If you can take side streets, surface streets, go ahead and do that during this project.  Lanes will be open, but you can expect congestion and very possibly delays," said Pete Hjelmstad, Iowa DOT district two field services coordinator.

If you're looking for alternate routes, the county roads in and around Gilbertville are a popular choice.  The city is working with DOT to keep an eye on added vehicle volume to see if extra traffic control is needed. 

While the construction may be a headache, DOT says it's all about making the highway a smoother and safer driving surface for everyone.

Iowa DOT recommends calling 511 or visiting www.511ia.org to view construction zones across the state.  The site even gives real time updates on traffic flow, so you can plan your travel routes accordingly.

The construction on I-380 won't be finished until late fall.  If you'd like more information about the project, and to view emergency detour route information, click here.

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