Travelers in central Iowa may face some short-term inconveniences where Interstate 35 meets U.S. 30 in Ames, but the new overpass currently under construction should ultimately make the interchange safer.
During several nights this month, the northbound lanes of I-35 have closed overnight as contractors placed beams over the road on new abutments. Soon, that work will finish and southbound travelers will face detours.
While the northbound closures forced traffic to travel west to Highway 69 and then continue north to Highway 30 before returning east to the interstate, the closure for the southbound lanes will be less intrusive. Travelers will go about one mile west on U.S. 30 to Dayton Road, where they will reverse direction and then take U.S. 30 back to I-35.
But Scott Dockstader, an Iowa Department of Transportation engineer, says shutdowns on U.S. 30 will follow.
“We still have to do work over Highway 30 and connect up to the other abutment,” he says, “so we’ll have multiple U.S. 30 night closures and beam settings.”
The purpose of the project is to create a safer interchange, Dockstader says, by eliminating the current cloverleaf, which requires cars entering and exiting the Interstate to use the same lane.
“With this flyover, we’re able to eliminate a lot of that merging/diverging movement, so in the future we won’t have people getting off at high speed trying to find a gap with that traffic merging onto the interstate,” he says.
The project has experienced some delays, but Dockstader says it is on pace now to be completed in 2019, likely in the summer.