AMES, Iowa -- A roll-over accident that took place in Ames on Tuesday morning is yet another example of just how dangerous the Highway 30/Interstate 35 interchange can be.
“They were taking the EB 30 to NB I-35 and I think they took the loop a little too fast,” said Assistant District 1 Engineer Tony Gustafson of the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Luckily there were no major injuries, but accidents at this intersection are common. Over the last decade there have been 290 accidents at this spot alone.
“It’s above average for our interstate system, definitely. Traffic is not just going to get any smaller on I-35 between Ames and Des Moines,” said Gustafson.
This is a problem the DOT saw coming. The HWY 30/I-35 interchange was built in the 1950s and was only supposed to handle about 20% of the daily traffic it handles now.
With the accidents continuing to climb, Gustafson and the engineer team with the DOT set out to fix the capacity problem. They started construction on the new $20 million project early this year.
“It gets rid of the weave. It’s a much safer ramp that you can take at a higher speed. Those loops you can only take at 35 mph,” said Gustafson.
The first major improvement will be adding a flyover ramp from I-35 directly to Highway 30 west--the spot with the most back-up. Next, drivers will have more time to merge onto I-35 going southbound. Currently a majority of crashes happen because drivers run out of time to merge.
Officials hope to have the project completed at the end of next summer. The project is such a priority they are offering a $100,000 bonus if phase one is completed this summer. For now, though, Gustafsson is asking drivers to use extra caution when traveling through Ames.
“Be safe out there. Respect the work zone. Take your time, slow down a little bit, and be aware of your surroundings so everyone’s safe out there.”