Iowa DOT - Council Bluffs Interstate

2021 Annual Report

Completed East System Interchange looking west toward the I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided freeway

Program Overview

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.


  • 29 of 47 Bridges
  • 6 of 12 Interchanges
  • 9 of 14 Interstate Centerline Miles
  • 115 of 146 Highway Lane Miles

Programs Goals

  • Modernize and improve 14 miles of interstate
  • Accommodate planned developments along transportation corridors
  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Improve the visual landscape

Project Highlights

I-29/Nebraska Avenue Interchange Reconstruction Continues

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.

  • Improved sight distance for drivers
  • Additional through lanes on I-29
I-29/Nebraska Avenue Interchange Reconstruction Project

I-29/I-480/West Broadway System Interchange Reconstruction Provides Access and Efficiency

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.

  • Reduced lane changes
  • Increased safety on I-480 & I-29
  • One-Way frontage roads along I-29
This improvement project addresses capacity needs, increases safety, and corrects functional design issues.

2021 Active Projects

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.

Map of Project Area
1 Completed Project
2 Construction Projects
2 Design Projects

I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway, Phase III

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.

  • Cost: $64M
  • Spent to Date: $62M
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Time Spent to Date: 23 months
  • Schedule: 08/2019-07/2021

I-29/Nebraska Interchange

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.

  • Cost: $46M
  • Spent to Date: $37M
  • Duration: 23 months
  • Time Spent to Date: 16 months
  • Schedule: 09/2020 - 08/2022

I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange

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.

  • Cost: $180M
  • Spent to Date: $55M
  • Duration: 45 months
  • Time Spent to Date: 8 months
  • Schedule: 04/2021 - 12/2024

I-80/Madison Avenue Interchange Projects

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.

  • Estimated Cost: $121M
  • Estimated Duration: 46 months
  • Schedule: 09/2022 - 06/2026

Dual, Divided Freeway Opens to Traffic, Selected as Top Ten Roadway Project

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.

I-80/I-29 Dual Divided Freeway

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.

  • Allows for continued traffic flow if lanes become blocked
  • Improves Roadway Safety & Reduces Crashes
  • Reduces traffic congestion during peak hours
  • Accommodates traffic growth and planned area development
  • Completed $10 million under budget & five months early

“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.

Roads & Bridges magazine award

ROADS & BRIDGES Votes DDF as 2021 #4 Top Road Project

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!

Roads & Bridges magazine cover

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!

Alternate Frontage Road System Opens, Keeps I-29 Traffic Moving

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.

I-80/I-29 Dual Divided Freeway

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.

  • Frontage Roads provide direct access to west broadway
  • Frontage Roads allow quicker, safer interstate reconstruction
  • Frontage Roads enhance connectivity in council bluffs

Public Outreach

2021 Stakeholder & Public Communiations

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!

2021 Top Social Media Posts

Top post on Facebook


331,362 Impressions the number of times content was displayed

26,596 Engagements any form of interaction on social media including likes, comments or shares

1,919 Followers people who have liked, or “followed” accounts on social media

2,699 Reactions likes or emoji responses to a post

1,730 Shares the number of times individuals have shared a post to their own social media followers

996 Comments opinions or remarks made on a post

Top post on Twitter


62,286 Impressions the number of times content was displayed

2,909 Engagements any form of interaction on social media including likes, comments or shares

756 Followers people who have liked, or “followed” accounts on social media

92 Reactions likes or emoji responses to a post

83 Shares the number of times individuals have shared a post to their own social media followers

2,735 Comments opinions or remarks made on a post

Completed West System Interchange looking east toward the I-80/I-29 Dual, Divided Freeway.

Program Status

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.

Status through December 2021

21 Awarded, 2 Remaining. $978 million spent of $1.13 billion Awarded

Long-Term Strategy

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.

Dollars allocated per Fiscal Year

$120 million in 2021, $65.6 million in 2022, $3.3 million in 2023, $4.2 million in 2024, %37.8 million in 2025, $22 million in 2026

Approved by the Transportation Commission, June 2021

By the Numbers

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.

34,300 linear feet of pipe 82,500 to-date
79,500 linear feet of conduit 162,500 to-date
2,400 linear feet of retaining wall 86,400 to-date

Click or tap the dots for a snapshot of work completed in 2021.

Panorama of ongoing construction
735 tons reinforcing steel 18,615 to-date
78,520 cubic yards of concrete poured 630,320 to-date
715,000 cubic yards of earthwork moved 9,804,000 to-date
1,225 tons of bridge structural steel 45,475 to-date
53,000 square yards of concrete paving 1,893,000 to-date
28,000 square feet of bridge deck poured 2,031,000 to-date
96 new tower & street lights 317 to-date

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.

The Road Ahead


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.

2022:I-29/Nebraska Avenue Interchange completion. I-80/Madison Avenue Interchange begins; I-80 eastbound package is anticipated to be awarded late summer. 2023:I-29, I-480 and the interchange ramps
                              re-open to traffic. 2024: I-80/Madison Avenue westbound package 
                              anticipated to be awarded late spring I-29/I-480/West Broadway Interchange completion. 2026: I-80/Madison Avenue Interchange completion.
                              Council Bluffs Interstate Improvement Program completion.

For a detailed review of the history of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program, visit our website!