The Iowa Department of Transportation is in the process of reconstructing I-80, I-29, and I-480 in the Council Bluffs/ Omaha metropolitan area. This comprehensive interstate redesign, known as the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program, will modernize the highway system and improve mobility and safety in the area. We are committed to completing interstate improvements with minimal public inconvenience and keeping the traveling public informed of changes that impact travel.


Modernizing and improving 14 miles of interstate.

Accommodate planned developments along transportation corridors.

Reducing traffic congestion.

Improve the visual landscape.




47 planned



12 planned


(represents roadway length from a given starting point to end point)


14 planned


(calculated by mulitplying centerline mileage by the number of lanes on the roadway)


146 planned


Construction projects are prioritized based on the potential traffic management benefits, improved safety, and increased capacity to move vehicles in the urban area of the interstate system as well as the number of vehicles that are already moving through that area. The Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program has identified several future projects that are necessary to satisfy the overall mission of the program.

Click the numbered dots on the map for project information.


Union Pacific Railroad Bridge reconstruction

Reconstruction of the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge began in September 2017 and was completed August 2019. Bridge reconstruction was necessary to allow for increased capacity on I-29. Partnering with Union Pacific Railroad, Iowa DOT rebuilt the existing bridge from five tracks to three tracks due to improvements made to the local yard operations. Bridge design was optimized so the roadway grade did not need to be altered during construction. Iowa DOT also worked with the City of Council Bluffs during design to extend the bridge span to allow for a possible, future, local street on the west side of I-29.

I-80/I-29 dual, divided freeway

After more than a decade of construction along the overlapping segments of Interstates 80 and 29 through Council Bluffs, motorists were finally able to travel the I-80 westbound/I-29 northbound portion of the dual, divided freeway in March 2019. The concept was designed to improve traffic flow and motorist safety along a three-mile corridor through Council Bluffs.

The dual, divided freeway, the first in the region, separates Interstate through-traffic from local traffic. Motorists on the three local northbound/westbound lanes are able to exit for food, services; and other locations in Council Bluffs at South Expressway and 24th Street; vehicles on the three westbound express lanes do not have exits in the three-mile corridor.

The dual, divided freeway was designed to reduce crashes caused in part by traffic that previously had to merge between tightly spaced interchanges. Anytime a crash does occur and traffic begins to back up, authorities will be able to open special gates and allow vehicles to move from the freeway into the local lanes.

Much of the eastbound/southbound dual, divided freeway also opened in late summer 2019 providing motorists traveling in all directions with additional lanes, fewer conflicts, and added safety benefits.

Each of these traffic shifts occurred approximately a full construction season, or more, ahead of the original construction schedule. This was accomplished, in part, due to optimized construction staging during multiple project phases and improved project delivery. Ultimately, these efforts have allowed the Iowa DOT to provide a better interstate system, ahead of schedule, with fewer impacts to the traveling public.


Speed Limit Increases

As part of re-design efforts, the interstate is now able to accommodate an increased speed limit, further supporting swift travel through the area. Speeds through Council Bluffs have been posted at 55 MPH, which is typical for work zone areas. Construction activities within the I-80 westbound/I-29 northbound portion of the dual, divided freeway are ahead of schedule and work that impacts westbound lanes has ceased. As a result, the Iowa DOT increased the speed limit to the planned, permanent, posted speed of 65 MPH in late 2019. Increasing the speed limit helps minimize vehicles traveling at different speeds and ultimately, crashes.

Traffic Incident Management

The Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program works to promote, develop, and sustain multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional efforts to achieve enhanced responder safety; safe, quick traffic incident clearance; and prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

Working group meetings with responders are held on a regular basis in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Responders include state and local transportation agencies, law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency communications, tow operators, and emergency managers.

This group continues to build relationships and partnerships to improve traffic incident management (TIM) through media training, public information officer partnerships, construction coordination, safety and technology equipment, and ongoing TIM training.

Dual, Divided Freeway Signage

Color dynamic message signs (DMS) are being added to the area to improve communication with drivers through tailored messages that match highway signs and shields. This was especially important during flood detours that impacted the area beginning in March 2019. Color DMS provided drivers with clear directions on how to avoid flood-impacted areas.

Following the opening of the dual, divided freeway, traveler and area stakeholder feedback revealed that express and local designations on overhead signage was not intuitive to drivers. In early 2020, Iowa DOT will update overhead signs coming into Council Bluffs giving drivers a clear understanding of which roadway would take them to services like fuel, food, lodging and which roadway would allow them to travel swiftly through the area.

2019 Flood impacts

In March 2019, widespread flooding impacted the Missouri River. Interstates, highways, and local roads north and south of Council Bluffs were overtopped and damaged due to the high flow rate of flood waters. Flooding caused approximately 63 miles of I-29 to close in southwest Iowa. On May 23, 2019, mobility had been restored. However, on May 31, 2019, a combination of weakened and breached levees, heavy rainfall, and increased releases from upstream dams resulted in all roadways becoming overtopped with water once again. The Iowa Department of Transportation, along with federal, state, and local agencies, continues to advance recovery and resiliency efforts throughout the region.

Council Bluffs Interstate System Impacts

While contractors and district forces worked together to restore mobility, the Program made ongoing changes to detour routes, made adjustments in work zones to accommodate increased traffic due to closed roads, evaluated project schedules, and monitored fluctuating water levels. The Program also continued to provide communication to area stakeholders and the traveling public regarding closed roads due to construction activity and flooding. While the magnitude of the flood event was far reaching and long lasting, only one project, the Nebraska Avenue Interchange, was ultimately delayed.

Resiliency measures on I-29

Impacts from flood events interrupted travel on I-29 multiple times between March and October. As a result, the existing pavement was raised between 14 and 28 inches in fall 2019. While the grade raise will not flood-proof the roadway, it will limit future flood impacts by allowing us to keep roads open longer and re-open flooded areas quicker, increasing overall resiliency of the transportation network. Additionally, we completed improvements to I-29, just north of the Avenue G Interchange in Council Bluffs. The age of existing pavement led to an uneven roadway and pavement degradation in this area. As a result, contractors overlaid I-29 lanes and ramps at 25th Street with new asphalt. Construction began in October 2019 and was completed in November 2019.

The I-80/I-29 West System Interchange from overhead.


2019 Communications

Since 2014, the Program has been providing informative, timely, and concise communications to stakeholders and the traveling public throughout the region. The public engagement approach capitalizes on opportunities that communicate the thoughtful planning and execution of taxpayer dollars. Program, traffic, and construction-related information is shared with the public through a variety of in-person and online platforms. In 2019, a communications campaign began in February to communicate major traffic shifts to stakeholders and the public. Additional campaigns occurred in summer and early fall for further construction impacts to the business corridor near South Expressway.


3 meetings

50 attendees

Program meetings were held with elected officials, local businesses, and stakeholders during 2019.


2 opportunities

281 businesses

Because the Program has had multiple exit ramp impacts and traffic shifts, expanded outreach efforts notified businesses near impacted areas well in advance of change or closures.


42,353 page views

20,029 visitors


1 meeting

150 visitors


560 new followers

1,479 total followers

534,514 impressions


111 new followers

699 total followers

178,900 impressions

Completed I-80 eastbound lanes as drivers enter Council Bluffs, Iowa.


Investing in Infrastructure

The Iowa Transportation Commission and Iowa DOT recognize that the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program is a significant investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure. We continue to look for opportunities to effectively and efficiently manage the successful delivery of highway improvement projects.


Program construction started in 2008 and is expected to continue through 2024. Approximately 67% of Program construction has been completed. Projects are being grouped strategically to maximize improvements while minimizing construction impacts to Council Bluffs residents and the traveling public.


Approved by the Transportation Commission, June 2019.

  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • $150M
  • $100M
  • $50M
  • $0M


In 2019, the West System Interchange was fully opened to traffic.


Rollover the dots for a snapshot of work completed in 2019.

Bridge deck construction in spring 2019.
The eastbound viaduct in the East System Interchange was opened in summer 2019.



click on the image above to englarge.