Long road ahead before improvements to I80/I380 interchange - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Long road ahead before improvements to I80/I380 interchange


Daniel Caldwell has had a few close calls during his frequent commute from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City.

"I've had to swerve out of lanes and swerve back in just to get to where I'm going," he said.

That stretch Caldwell is referring to is where Interstate 380 meets Interstate 80 in Coralville. It's an interchange that can be so heavily congested, Caldwell says he sometimes goes out of his way to avoid it.

"It's really dangerous right there because people are trying to come on, people are trying to get off, and people are also trying to go straight," Caldwell said. 

Sunday night it was the on ramp to I-80 Eastbound where a Mason City woman lost control and collided with a semi. 

These clover leaf ramps create merging challenges given the traffic volume.

"That interchange is 50 years old this year so it needs to be modernized to deal with the traffic today," said Cathy Cutler with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Proposed changes would replace the looping ramps with four longer directional ramps designed to handle heavier traffic.

With the large project comes a heavy price tag- at the tune of $300 million.

"For this kind of interchange, it's one of the most expensive that we would do.  It's a function of the type of interchange that's proposed with the directional ramps, just because it's a lot of structure to build," Cutler said.

While officials recognize change is needed, funding for the project has yet to be allocated.

That means there's still a long road ahead before motorists like Caldwell will see a safer interchange.

"I usually just try to slow down and be extremely cautious," he said. 

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