Construction Project Wraps Up at I-380/U.S. 20 Near Evansdale

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

A sign announces an upcoming lane shift along southbound Interstate 380 Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 near Coralville. (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Liz Blood

BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa - All lanes are now open following an extensive road construction project that included 6.5 miles of southbound Interstate 380 from the U.S. 20 interchange west of River Forest Road in Evansdale.

Pete Hjelmstad with the Iowa Department of Transportation says the project started in the spring and ended a month ahead of schedule. Hjelmstad attributes this to the dry and hot weather this summer. A lack of rainfall allowed construction crews to keep working steadily throughout the past few months.

In total, the project cost 12.7 million dollars. Hjelmstad said crews tore out the old “deteriorating” pavement. The project also widened the total 24 foot driving space to 26 feet and changed the individual 12 foot driving lanes to 14 feet. The Iowa DOT reports 139,600 vehicles travel this 6.5 mile stretch of road each day.

During much of the summer and early spring, all traffic traveling through this area were moved to I-380 North. Cars traveled single lane in both directions. Several exits were closed as well, like River Forest Road and Raymond Road southbound ramps.

“It was terrible,” recalls Waterloo driver, Brianna Schaefer. “Especially when people would get off of work, it was all backed up.”

Hjelmstad says with that amount of daily traffic, the project was by no means a luxury, but rather a necessity to keep drivers safe.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of motorists in the area,” Hjelmstad said. “We were very public from the beginning about the fact that, if you could find another route, you should do so. Many drivers did just that.”

Hjelmstad said he hopes drivers keep the same level of patience next spring. That’s when crews begin work on this same stretch of road going northbound.

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