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East system Interchange

East System Interchange - Rendering

Project Location

Council Bluffs, IA

Project Description

The East System Interchange project addressed capacity needs, improved safety, and corrected functional design issues associated with this interchange and the South Expressway interchange.

The East System Interchange included the area of I-80 immediately east of Indian Creek (including the South Expressway interchange) and continued to a point southwest of the Madison Avenue and I-80 interchange. The area also included I-29 from north of the U.S. 275/Iowa 92 interchange to Indian Creek.

Reconstruction of the East System Interchange included straightening I-80 and improve efficiency by eliminating left entrances and exits and allowing highway users to move through the area with fewer lane changes. The South Expressway interchange was constructed with the East System Interchange reconstruction. The folded-diamond interchange was rebuilt to meet current design standards and capacity needs. The reconstructed interchange is similar to the previous interchange configuration with two loop ramps and two diagonal ramps west of South Expressway. The rail line east of South Expressway has been decommissioned as part of railroad relocation and consolidation efforts, further improving traffic operations and safety.

Interim capacity improvements were completed along South Expressway in 2011. Improvements included lengthening and adding turn lanes, upgrading the I-29 southbound ramp terminal intersection to accommodate larger trucks and upgraded traffic signal communication and equipment. Phase I construction was completed in late 2015, which included extending 23rd Avenue and reconstruction of 29th Avenue, removing rubble and other materials from the former large industrial park, and placing the base groundwork for the future lane construction. Phase IIa construction began in late 2015 and was completed in early 2018. This project required coordinating with various railroads and other stakeholders. The project included three large bridges totaling over 8,200 feet in length. Phase IIb began in June 2016 and included the I-80 WB/I-29 NB lanes and bridges over South Expressway. This phase was completed in mid-2018. Phase III began in late 2017 and was completed in late 2019. Four large bridges were constructed and the first phase of the dual, divided freeway was opened (I-80 WB express and I-29 NB/I-80 WB local)  in March 2019.


Phase I Construction: 07/2014 — 12/2015
Phase IIa Construction: 11/2015 — 12/2017
Phase IIb Construction: 06/2016 — 06/2018
Phase III Construction: 11/2017 — 09/2019

Recognition & Awards


  • American Council of Engineering Companies
    • National Recognition Award
    • Iowa Honor Award
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Project Map

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Project references

Project Name: East System Interchange
Project Numbers: Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(407)3--03-78;  Grading IMN-80-1(366)4--0E-78; Grade & Pave IM-NHS-80-1(374)4--03-78; Grade & Pave IM-NHS-80-1(381)4--03-78; Grade & Pave IM-NHS-29-3(115)48--03-78; Grade & Pave IM-NHS-80-1(370)4--03-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(373)4--03-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(372)4--03-78; Grade IMN-29-3(125)48--0E-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(377)4--03-78; Bridge IM-NHSX-080-1(416)3--03-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(408)4--03-78; Grade & Pave IM-NHS-80-1(389)2--03-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(371)3--03-78; Grade & Pave IM-80-1(363)3--13-78; Bridge IM-NHS-80-1(400)3--03-78; South Expressway/Madison Avenue Interchange Project

Additional Resources

2018 ACEC/Iowa Engineering Excellence Awards Transportation Grand Place Award

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