Commuters call it a headache but Iowa Department of Transportation officials say it’s a safety concern, and officials are trying to fix the issue.
The Iowa DOT is holding a public hearing Thursday evening on the busy interchange where Interstate 35/80 meets Highway 141.
The DOT has four different plans, but they all include getting rid of the sharp exit ramps that take drivers from 35/80 to Highway 141.
Officials say these loops can be dangerous because drivers have to drop their speed significantly along the tight turns. During rush hour cars are often at a standstill on these exits.
In place of those loops officials would build a longer ramp that would bridge over the interstate and highway. The most expansive and likely most expensive plan is Alternative 2 which includes a collector distributor (similar to what we have on Interstate 235 along downtown Des Moines). This proposal would also be able to handle the most traffic.
An estimated 100,000 people travel along this stretch of 35/80 and officials say the traffic is only going to get worse.
Officials have a lot of work ahead of them including traffic studies and estimates. If everything goes as planned construction would start in 2019 with a budgeted 18 million dollars’ worth of state and federal funding. But before any of that happens officials are holding a public hearing Thursday at 5:30 p.m. inside the Urbandale Public Library.