I-380 Construction Closing Up As Drivers Have To Keep Alert

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Transportation says the paving project for the southbound lanes of Interstate 380 are in the final days.

Yet, at night, lane closures and construction crews fill some of the lanes of the highway, sometimes cutting the usual four lanes from Collins Road NE to the downtown exits.

"We understand that it's been kind of a painful construction season for people," said Cathy Cutler of the Iowa Department of Transportation office in Cedar Rapids.

Cutler said this summer has held a focus on repaving the southbound lanes of the Interstate. For driving on the smooth road, the construction has filled the nights to make it happen.

"Due to the amount of traffic on 380 during the day, we do put a restriction in to be night work on 380. They can set up the traffic control but not the actual construction until a specified time and, hopefully, be off by the major morning commute."

On some evenings, like Thursday night, the construction work is confined to the sides of the highway.

Yet on Wednesday night, many of the six on-ramps to southbound 380 between Blairs Ferry Road NE and H Avenue NE ended with a yield sign for on-coming traffic.

Lisa Galindo drove up to a crash scene with multiple vehicles at Collins Road NE/380 and involving her daughter.

"Everyone who had to come down (the on-ramp) had to slam on their brakes," said Galindo. "There's no road work going on. Why have the cones up?"

At some points on Wednesday night, up to two of the four lanes on I-380 were closed off, such as between 42nd Street and Glass Road, even though no active construction was taking place.

Cutler reminds drivers of the rules of the road for when encountering a yield sign in the acceleration lane during the construction project.

"When you're blending into the 380 traffic, even without construction, the ramp traffic is required to yield to that traffic," said Cutler. "When we've cut out one of the lanes at night, even with less traffic, that becomes a safety concern."

DOT engineers say the paving project for southbound 380 should be complete by Saturday, weather-permitting before other projects, such as installing cable guardrails. For 2014, Cutler said northbound 380 will be paved.
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