‘Any road improvements are a real plus’ - I-380 set to expand

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST
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LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - A new project is set to help with the flow of traffic between the exit to Swisher and Shueyville to just south of US Highway 30.

That stretch of highway will widen from four to six lanes and the airport interchange at Wright Brothers Boulevard will be turned into a Diverging Diamond Interchange.

”There’s obviously a lot of freight movements, a lot of semi trucks, big loads coming through the area. All of those can easily drive a diverging diamond in a safe manner in a very efficient manner and just kind of flow through those left turns,” said Cathy Cutler, a transportation planner with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Cutler said work on the Wright Brothers interchange will start late summer to early fall of 2024 and take around two years.

And the widening of I-380 would likely start in 2025 and go until 2027.

One semi-truck driver who’s been on the road for more than 20 years said he thinks in the long run, the expansion will be a good thing.

”Any road improvements are a real plus. It’s pain in the butt maybe when the construction is going on with the backups, with the traffic you know, with the construction itself, but after completion, it’s always a real plus for commercial drivers and also for residential drivers I think,” said Charles Ratley, semi-truck driver.

And another driver agrees.

”I think it’d be a lot safer if they added another lane. There are a lot of people from my observation commuting from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids. I do, I see there’s a need for more to make it safer,” said Donna Nielsen, driver.

Cutler believes these two examples aren’t outliers, and that people in general will tolerate construction for a safer, smoother ride.

”So really, just a lot of added capacity out there on I-380 and I honestly think people can see the need for it,” said Cutler.