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.
I-29/Nebraska Avenue Interchange reconstruction began in fall 2020 and continued during 2021. This project includes rebuilding the existing, folded diamond interchange to meet current design standards and capacity needs. The reconstructed interchange will resemble the existing configuration with two loop ramps and two diagonal ramps north of Nebraska Avenue. Reconstruction will improve sight distances for drivers at the Nebraska Avenue intersection and add additional lanes on I-29.
Bridge construction and paving were the primary focus of improvements at the I-29/Nebraska Avenue Interchange in 2021. Construction of the new northbound bridge over Nebraska Avenue was completed, and traffic was shifted in the fall so that the construction of the new I-29 southbound bridge could begin. Interstate 29 bridge construction and paving will be the focus again during 2022. The contractor is expected to complete the project in late summer 2022.
The I-29/I-480/West Broadway System Interchange reconstruction began in spring 2021. This improvement project will address capacity needs, increase safety, and correct functional design issues. The project will also provide direct access to West Broadway from I-29 via one-way frontage roads on each side of the interstate.
In 2021, construction focused on building a new system of frontage roads. Construction crews also worked on I-29 north of Avenue G and began bridge construction. The northbound frontage road opened in November 2021 and I-29 northbound was closed. It is expected to be closed until summer 2023.
A portion of the southbound frontage road also opened between 2nd Avenue and 9th Avenue. In addition to I-29 reconstruction, construction crews will also begin constructing additional bridges in 2022.
This improvement project addresses capacity needs, increases safety, and corrects functional design issues.
Construction projects are prioritized based on potential traffic management benefits, improved safety, and increased capacity to move more vehicles through the urban area of the interstate system. The Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program has identified projects that are necessary to satisfy the overall mission of the program.
Click or tap the circles to learn more about that project.
2021 Highlights: The Dual, Divided Freeway was opened in June 2021. The contractor completed detour removals and the barrier wall to finish work on the freeway. Construction activities were complete in July 2021.
2021 Highlights: Northbound bridge construction was completed and I-29 northbound traffic was shifted in fall 2021.
Looking Ahead: The southbound bridge over Nebraska Avenue will be completed in mid-2022. The interchange reconstruction work will be completed by fall 2022 and contractors will remove remaining detour pavement.
2021 Highlights: Construction began in early spring and the northbound frontage road was opened to traffic in November 2021 as northbound I-29 was closed. A portion of the southbound frontage road also opened. Early bridge construction and retaining walls were also started.
Looking Ahead: I-29 northbound will remain closed during 2022 for reconstruction. Construction crews will work on paving and bridges throughout the corridor.
2021 Highlights: Due to revenue shortfalls as a result of COVID-19, the Madison Avenue project has been re-scheduled to better align with Iowa DOT’s budget planning. However, with additional funding allocated to Iowa, the DOT is anticipating to schedule the project sooner than originally planned. The project has been divided into two contracts that will be awarded in late 2022 and early 2024. Construction is expected to be complete in 2026. In 2021, design teams revised project plans to accommodate the phased approach.
Looking Ahead: The project team will finalize the design of the Madison Avenue Interchange Projects. The eastbound I-80 project is anticipated to begin in fall 2022.
The Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program reached a major milestone in 2021 by fully opening the Dual, Divided Freeway (DDF). Efforts included relocating multiple Class I railroads, overcoming worldwide pandemic implications, managing progress through multiple flood events, designing complex bridge structures, traversing multiple waterways, moving an astronomical quantity of material, and maintaining traffic on one of America’s most vital corridors.
These efforts were completed under budget and ahead of schedule. This project required coordination with dozens of agencies and ongoing communication with stakeholders and the traveling public.
In 2021, the Iowa DOT celebrated the completion of the I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway, nearly six months ahead of schedule and $10M under budget.
I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway construction near South Expressway was completed in 2021.
“It brings progress. Community infrastructure is a sign of progress. And I think we’ve done that with this program,” said Scott Schram, Iowa DOT District 4 Engineer.
In addition to modernizing the interstate to today’s standards, the DDF and the overall Council Bluffs Interstate System Program, provides innovative, long-term system updates. The new intelligent transportation system uses sensors, traffic monitoring cameras and the state’s first full-color dynamic message signs to monitor and manage traffic throughout the corridor.
The system—connected by more than 7 miles of fiber optic cables—allows the DOT to respond dynamically to changes in weather, traffic incidents or active construction. LED lighting, enhanced pavement markings, median gates and increased speed limits all contribute to safe, reliable and smooth travel through the corridor.
In 2021, the I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway was recognized as one of the best road construction projects in the country by ROADS & BRIDGES Magazine. Read the story!
Periodically, various industry magazines feature projects that are part of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program. This summer, Roads & Bridges published a cover story about the opening of the Dual, Divided Freeway. Read the story!
A key goal of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program is to maintain traffic on the interstate system whenever possible to minimize disruptions to drivers and businesses. To date, long-term interstate system closures have been avoided by strategically scheduling projects and serving traffic within the right-of-way. Due to the proximity of the residential area near I-29/I-480/West Broadway, the project was designed with a full I-29 northbound closure. The closure began in November 2021 and is expected to last for 21 months. Although this is expected to be a long closure, it allows the contractor to complete the project almost two years earlier than if the interstate remained open to traffic. Traffic not destined for Council Bluffs, is directed to use the detour on I-80 to I-880. Traffic destined for downtown Omaha, is directed to use the detour on I-80 to I-480. Local traffic may use NB Frontage Rd between 9th Avenue and Avenue G and enter I-29 northbound.
After NB Frontage Road opened in November and I-29 was closed to traffic, construction crews began demolition of the old roadway.
Beginning in November 2021, all I-29 northbound traffic was diverted to the new NB Frontage Road. The I-29 northbound closure will be in place for nearly 21 months.
Since 2014, the Program has provided 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 2021, much of the Program’s public outreach continued to be provided virtually through social media and other online tools. As construction activities began near the I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange, the Program provided website and email updates, as well as direct contact with impacted stakeholders and businesses in the area. The Program’s annual elected official’s briefing was presented in an online format in July.
In early 2021, a webpage was launched for construction updates for the I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange Project. Visit the site!
Completed West System Interchange looking east toward the I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway.
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 2026. Approximately 77% of Program construction has been completed. Projects are grouped strategically to maximize improvements while minimizing construction impacts to Council Bluffs residents and the traveling public.
Approved by the Transportation Commission, June 2021
Construction of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program has been active since 2008. These statistics provide a snapshot of the magnitude of work completed in 2021.
Click or tap the dots for a snapshot of work completed in 2021.
Construction of the I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange in April 2021
The I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange will be fully constructed over the next three years.
Much has been accomplished since construction of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvements began in 2008. The Iowa DOT and Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program appreciates the cooperation of all our project partners, the work of design and contractor teams, and the public’s flexibility and patience as we work to improve safety and the ability to move growing numbers of people and goods through this critical area of our state. While our work is far from done, completion is in sight.
For a detailed review of the history of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program, visit our website!