** Attention: Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa is NOW OPEN. The Iowa DOT has inspected the bridge over the Cedar River and it is safe to travel on. (Updated 6/16/08 @ 4:00 PM) **
CORRECTION. This is UPDATED. The prior version was the initial detour route that was later abandoned.
Iowa DOT prepares to close Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa
AMES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Transportation is reporting Thursday several changes regarding the closure of east- and westbound Interstate 80, as a result of the volatile flooding situation.
The Iowa DOT expects the roadway will be closed for approximately two to three days, or until the waters recede and the road can be placed back into safe operation.
This evening flood waters are expected to approach and eventually overtop the east- and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 at milepost 266 in Cedar County, just west of the Iowa 38 interchange (exit 267).
The original detour route has been abandoned. The new detour for persons traveling across Iowa is:
- Westbound: The detour begins at U.S. 61 in the Quad Cities. It continues north on US. 61 to U.S. 20/Dubuque. Then west on U.S. 20 to Interstate 35. Then south on Interstate 35 to Interstate 80 in Des Moines.
- Eastbound: The detour begins at Interstate 35 in Des Moines. It continues north on Interstate 35 to U.S. 20, then east on U.S. 20 to U.S. 61 at Dubuque. The detour then travels south on U.S. 61 to Interstate 80 at the Quad Cities.
This detour includes approximately 110 miles of out-of-distance travel. Changeable message signs are presently being activated to begin redirecting traffic on the detour route.
Local traffic will still be allowed to use Interstate 80, including its entrances and exits, between exit 137 (Interstate 35 interchange in Des Moines) and exit 265 (Atalissa interchange), and between the Iowa/Illinois border and exit 267 (Iowa 38 interchange). Traffic will not be permitted between the 265 and 267 exits.
The Iowa DOT is anticipating heavy traffic, congestion and delays on the detour route. Therefore, the department strongly suggests the following ways to reduce traffic problems during this critical time.
Regional and coast-to-coast commercial motor vehicle operators that do not need to make a stop in Iowa should consider a route that avoids the state.
Iowa residents should avoid travel on the detour roads, if at all possible.
Travelers should NOT use the county roadways as alternative routes.
For the latest updates on road conditions, visit www.511ia.org; or call the Iowa DOT’s temporary customer service line 866-452-8510, which is operating from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. This phone line is specifically for assisting travelers navigate state roadway closings. Operators will help callers understand where roads are closed and direct them to any detours or possible alternative routes using Iowa, U.S. and interstate highways.
Due to the ever-changing water levels and today’s rain events, it is essential that motorists know whether the roadways they intend to use are available for travel. By visiting the Web site or calling the customer service line, the safety and convenience of travelers will be greatly improved, and congestion and frustration reduced.
The Iowa DOT recognizes the significant inconvenience and economic impact this closure presents, and will reopen the roadway as soon as the waters recede and any necessary repairs are made.
In the map above, the red line is the detour route. Local traffic can still run on the dotted blue section. The purple section is where all the trouble will be.
Hat Tip to KCCI-TV .