RIDER CORNER: DOT Proposes Improvements

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A high traffic interchange in the metro could soon be snarl free.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is looking to improve the commute for interstate drivers using a stretch of Interstate 35/80 near Highway 141.

“It’s a lot of traffic,” says Tony Gustafson, Assistant District Engineer with the Iowa DOT.

The stretch pushes close to 100,000 cars and trucks a day. Throw in another 30,000 vehicle on Highway 141.

“It does cause problems. I know I've seen a number of accidents going in the west direction in the morning during the rush hour,” says driver Matt Orr.

“There's a lot of traffic that goes through there, but I think if you're paying attention, it's alright,” says driver Austin Olson.

The traffic volume and safety concerns of drivers not paying attention prompted the DOT to come up with a new plan for Rider Corner. It's the interchange where 35/80 meets Highway 141 and where drivers take a sharp turn to exit the interstate.

“One of the bigger issues is the loop and the traffic that backs up. We want to replace it with a ramp we call it a fly over ramp. It goes over the interstate,” says Gustafson.

The DOT is pitching four proposals to better handle the influx of northbound traffic.

“You don't expect to be going down the highway and have you know, have a nearly 90 degree turn. Yeah, certainly it could probably use some improvement,” says Orr.

Any changes to this well-traveled stretch in Polk County are still years down the road. Improvements to Rider Corner are part of the DOT’s five year plan.

The agency is holding a public hearing on the proposed changes on Thursday, May 29th at the Urbandale Public Library from 5:30 to 6 PM.

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