Transportation

Dan Gold / Unsplash

We’ve been enjoying super low gas prices due to a number of reasons. People have been driving less, and there’s a worldwide oil glut. Here in Iowa we’re paying on average $1.75 per gallon. The national average is about ten cents higher $1.86 per gallon.

So gas prices have plummeted, no secret there, but did you know the number of speeding tickets in the state has jumped? On this segment of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks to Sergeant Alex Dinkla of the Iowa State Patrol to explain the jump in speeding tickets.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Fewer cars have been traveling on state highways, county roads and city streets over the last month, according to traffic data that the Iowa Department of Transportation has been gathering to track how traffic has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation Historic Archives

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.  

Our series continues with a look at the history of the good roads movement and the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. The guides for this hour of history will be Tom Morain of Graceland University and former director of the State Historical Society of Iowa and Drake Hokanson, author of The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America.

Courtesy of George Lindblade

Medical professionals in western Iowa’s largest county started testing people for COVID-19 in their cars Friday. Health officials estimate the drive-thru site can test around 60 people per day, five days a week once it’s fully operational.

Madeleine McCormick/IPR

An Iowa Senate panel advanced a proposal Monday to ban almost all cell phone use while driving.

The bill would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving except in hands-free mode, or to push a single button to accept or end a call.

Flickr

Sioux City officials say they are working to correct several problems at the local airport, after the Federal Aviation Administration lobbed a hefty fine against it.

IOWA DOT / HTTPS://HB.511IA.ORG/

The Iowa Department of Transportation is raising some sections of Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs to keep traffic moving even when the Missouri River is at flood stage.

Iowa DOT / https://hb.511ia.org/

The Iowa Department of Transportation reopened a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 29 in western Iowa around 2 p.m. Monday. 

Iowa DOT / https://hb.511ia.org/

The Iowa Department of Transportation re-closed a 10-mile section of Interstate-29 in western Iowa Sunday morning, prompted by flooding from the once-again rising Missouri River. A detour is in place. 

Iowa DOT / http://hb.511ia.org

The Iowa Department of Transportation has reopened a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 29 in western Iowa, after flooding closed it late last month. 

Iowa DOT / https://hb.511ia.org

Sections of Interstate-29 and Interstate-680 in western Iowa that have been closed for the last week due to area flooding are now open again to motorists, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced Friday afternoon.

courtesy Iowa DOT

A three-year-long construction project to improve safety at the U.S. 30 - Interstate 35 interchange in Ames is nearly complete.

MissLLJ/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Iowa City is moving forward with its first-ever bike share. On Tuesday, the council authorized the city to contract with a company called Gotcha to roll out a program city leaders say will help meet the needs of low income residents and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Iowa National Guard cameramen

People in Sioux City are remembering the life of Captain Al Haynes, the pilot of United Airlines Flight 232 that crash-landed there 30 years ago. Haynes died Sunday in Seattle from a brief illness.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The roar of diesel buses, and more importantly the pollution they emit, will be reduced when CyRide, a partnership between Iowa State University, its students and the city of Ames, gets its first two all-electric buses.

CyRide received a $1.66 million grant from the Federal Transit Authority’s Low or No Emission Bus Program for the buses and the changes to the garage that will be necessary to accommodate charging them.

Sioux County Sheriff's Office

Authorities are looking into the cause of a freight train derailment in northwest Iowa.

Iowa National Guard

Thirty years ago today, a United Airlines plane crashed-landed in Sioux City and killed 112 people; 184 survived.

Dean Borg/IPR

Rail workers using specialized heavy equipment are clearing wreckage from an early Thursday morning Union Pacific derailment in Stanwood in east central Iowa.

The train was traveling on one of Iowa’s busiest rail lines, carrying coal eastward through the state.  Several coal cars derailed, stalling the train in the Cedar County town, and blocking Iowa Highway 38 northward.  Those cars have since been moved, resuming highway traffic on Iowa 38.

The Union Pacific railroad runs parallel to U.S. Highway 30, and the derailment is one block north.

MissLLJ/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Cedar Rapids is kicking off its first bike share program today, coinciding with Bike to Work Week, a national push to encourage cycling. Supporters hope the service will make Cedar Rapids more accessible and attractive to residents and and visitors.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Flooding has heavily damaged some southwest Iowa county roads. The roads are a major hurdle preventing some displaced people from returning to their homes.

Photo Courtesy of the Iowa DOT

The Iowa Department of Transportation is working to assess damages to highways as water recedes in southwest Iowa. The damages look daunting in photos.

senator jake chapman
John Pemble / IPR

This story was updated at 11:55 a.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

Iowa senators voted Tuesday to ban traffic cameras in the state for the third year in a row. But the proposal is not likely to gain enough support in the House of Representatives, where lawmakers have considered regulating traffic cameras.

Those who support banning traffic cameras say they violate due process rights and are a money-making scheme for local governments.

Rick Fredericksen / IPR file

Woodbury County supervisors on Tuesday approved an ordinance to ensure large trucks don’t apply loud compression brakes on some county roads, but critics of the ordinance still believe it is unenforceable.

Amanda Bengtson/Flickr

Woodbury County supervisors are considering an ordinance that would prohibit trucks from using loud compression brakes on some county roads, but other western Iowa counties that have a similar ordinance in place say it’s difficult to enforce.

Iowa DOT

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.

Keven Arrowsmith / Iowa Department of Transportation

Work has wrapped up on a 60-year project to widen a state highway stretching from eastern to western Iowa. Officials will celebrate the conversion of U.S. Highway 20 to a four-lane road on Friday.

Courtesy of Sioux County Sheriffs Office

Crews are working to rebuild a collapsed bridge in northwest Iowa after nearly 40 rail cars derailed and more than a dozen fell into the Floyd River.

Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District / http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Lock-and-Dam-Information/Peoria-Lock-and-Dam/

Congress is allocating billions of dollars to expand the work of the Army Corps of Engineers, as past of a larger funding package that includes the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Health and Human Services. But adequate funding to replace the aging locks and dams on the Mississippi River is not part of the deal. 

Jeff Dzadon/Flickr

A recent analysis ranks Iowa as having the ninth worst infrastructure in the country.

The state’s rural county bridges may be what spurred the poor rating by content and analysis company 24/7 Wall St, according to Aaron Granquist, a project manager who’s overseeing the state’s upcoming infrastructure report card.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Iowa Department of Transportation does not have the authority to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

In a 6-0 opinion, Supreme Court justices agreed the IDOT cannot order Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine to remove or relocate traffic cameras. The state legislature would have to pass a law specifically granting the IDOT the authority to make and enforce rules for cities’ traffic cameras.

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