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Northbound I-380 to close Tuesday night as I-80 interchange redesign project moves forward

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Johnson County, IOWA (KWWL) -- Big changes are happening to interstate 380 as construction on the new I-80 interchange pushes along.

Drivers will be affected tomorrow night as the Iowa DOT shuts down a portion of northbound Interstate 380 just north of Iowa City.

A portion of all northbound lanes will be completely shut down from 7 p.m. Tuesday night to 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. This is because traffic has been moved over to the shoulder of the road as crews work on the median.

Tomorrow the DOT will be reinforcing that asphalt for winter. However, this is just one piece of a much larger project happening in that corridor.

Interstate 380 is moving quickly and it's not just the traffic we're talking about.

"Lots of activity, lots to be aware of for drivers in the area," said Iowa DOT Transportation Planner, Cathy Cutler.

From a total interchange redesign and reconstruction. "Where every movement will actually have its own bridge, going over or under depending on the direction you're going," said Cutler.

To a new exit ramp and a proposal to covert the interstate to six lanes from Iowa City to North Liberty, 380 is quickly evolving.

"Really it's going to help with safety in the area. It's going to keep people moving more at the same speed and you'll be able to blend into 80 or 380 traffic at a higher speed," said Cutler.

As the DOT converts the I-380, I-80 interchange from a cloverleaf to turbine design, Forevergreen Road is assisting with detours. This is why the DOT worked quickly to get it to open before the brunt of the interchange work began.

"Traffic that wants to go north on 380 will be sent over to the coral ridge exit, they'll take that exit, go north on coral ridge ave. They can use the new forever green and get right back on 380," said Cutler.

Drivers traveling West from Des Moines will be rerouted to highway 151 traveling through the Amanas onto highway 30 to Cedar Rapids. Drivers traveling East from West Branch will be rerouted using highway 1 up to Mount Vernon. All routes will be marked with signage.

The new exit is also creating new access to Tiffin, North Liberty, and even Coralville and an opportunity for growth. Veritas Church, which has only been open a year, was quick to realize the growing potential of the area.

"They had been looking for land for about five years and then our head pastor Mark Arant, with some of our members recognized, hey, tiffin is an up and coming place," said Youth Minister, Austin Kloewer.

The church planting its roots along this new stretch of road, taking a bet on the ease of access to the new exit. Which staff says has helped get more Iowa City college students to its Thursday night youth ministry.

A bet, Kloewer said they are already seeing pay off, "It's been huge just logistically for getting to Iowa City, Coralville, even Cedar Rapids, or Solon. It kind of creates a central location where people can jump off the interstate."

The $300 interchange reconstruction project is expected to be a three-year project. the Iowa DOT says Lanes will continue to be shifted and crews will remain working through winter. That's why they're asking drivers to be extra vigilant when traveling through that area.

To get Iowa DOT alerts for lane changes, detours, and closures on I-380, I-80 you can sign up here on the DOT's website.

To learn more about the redesign of the project, click here.

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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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