Construction project means slowdowns off Coralville exit until next year

A major construction project, changing one exit on Interstate 80 to a diverging diamond, is getting underway in Coralville, leading to some traffic changes.
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - A major construction project is getting underway at exit 242 on Interstate 80 in Coralville. Officials say to expect delays.

According to the Coralville Engineering Department, the project will convert the First Avenue and I-80 interchange into a diverging diamond-style interchange. Traffic on First Avenue over the interstate will go down to one lane in each direction while two bridges are constructed.

The east bridge will be completed in late fall 2023. Once built, traffic will shift to this new bridge; however, there will still only be one lane each way as the remaining west half of First Avenue is reconstructed. The west bridge will be completed in the fall of 2024.

All permanent lanes at the diverging diamond interchange are expected to open by December 2024.

Dax Patel, the owner of a nearby Quality Inn, said about 60% of his revenue is from walk-ins, mainly drivers who come in from I-80.

“Nobody wants inconvenience, right?” Patel said. “They want very convenient locations where they don’t have to deal with traffic and such nonsense.”

While Patel thinks easy access to his hotel is important, he doesn’t think the construction will have too much of an impact.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue for us, or, I would say, revenue-wise, it shouldn’t impact us, anyway,” Patel said.

In fact, Patel thinks the project will be a good thing in the long term.

“I see a positive side in this reconstruction. I think they are doing it better just so that it’s convenient for the traffic. Because, like, when there are games and stuff in town, it gets pretty trafficky,” Patel said.