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Frequently Asked Questions

When will construction end?

Projects within the program area will be constructed over the course of several years. Projects will be bundled so they can be constructed at the same time. This approach will decrease the overall length and construction impacts of the program.

How do I know if I am in the Corridor Preservation Zone?

Please refer to the Corridor Preservation Zone map to determine if you are in the CPZ.

What is the Corridor Preservation Zone?

The Corridor Preservation Zone is an area where future transportation improvements could occur that may require the acquisition of right of way. Designation of the CPZ allows Iowa DOT to review building permits, subdivision plats and proposed zoning changes to determine if they are compatible with future roadway improvements.

What steps are necessary when developing property in the Corridor Preservation Zone?

The Iowa DOT is part of the permit review process conducted by the City of Council Bluffs for all properties within the Corridor Preservation Zone. Iowa DOT will evaluate the potential impacts to the development by the proposed highway improvements. If there are impacts to the development, the Iowa DOT will contact the owner or developer and try to find a solution that will work for both the developer and the proposed highway plans. If a solution cannot be found, Iowa DOT may pursue acquisition of all or part of the property being developed.

If my property is in the Corridor Preservation Zone, what process of land acquisition should I expect?

As part of the proposed improvements, Iowa DOT policy provides for appraisal of property and/or property rights needed for each project. Professional techniques and methods are used to determine “just compensation” in accordance with federal and state constitutions, laws and regulations. Appraisals are prepared to assure fair treatment for both the property owner and the public.

After completing the appraisal, a right of way agent contacts each owner to explain the plans and appraisals and negotiate the contract for the required right of way. If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiations, the property may be acquired by the laws of eminent domain.

See the Property Acquisition page for additional resources.

If my property is in the Corridor Preservation Zone and I can’t sell it, will Iowa DOT purchase it?

Properties within the CPZ are selected for acquisition based on the potential impact to the property due to interstate improvements. Iowa DOT staff, from the Offices of Design and Right of Way, determine the potential impacts and assess the need for partial or full property acquisition. If structures including houses, garages, and outbuildings are going to be disturbed or if access to the property will be disrupted, the DOT may make a determination to acquire the entire property. 

What is the Iowa DOT process for filing a hardship request?

The property owner will need to mail a letter with the request for a hardship early acquisition outlining their situation to the District Office. The DOT staff would then be able to coordinate with the Right of Way department to receive the necessary approvals. The letter should be addressed to Scott Schram, P.E., District 4 Engineer, Iowa Department of Transportation, District 4 Office, 2210 E 7th St, Atlantic, IA 50022 and copy Jim Muetzel, the Program Manager for the Council Bluffs Interstate System program.

Where can I learn more about the right of way process?

For more information on the right of way process, please visit the Iowa DOT's Office of Right of Way website. You can also download the Iowa DOT's right of way brochure, "Highways and Your Land."

How can I see construction plans in my area?

As each project progresses, the website, social media and publications will be utilized to provide regular construction impact information. Public meetings will be held to present details of the proposed improvements. Information regarding those meetings is available here.

You are also invited to visit the program office at your convenience to view current plans. The program office is located at Mall of the Bluffs, 1751 Madison Avenue, Suite 750, Council Bluffs, IA.

How will I know about traffic impacts in my area?

To learn about real-time traffic and detour updates, visit the Traveler Info page. If you have specific questions regarding traffic impacts, please contact our program office at (712) 326-3712.

How will I be notified about changes to the highway design in my area?

This website will be the program’s main means for disseminating construction-related information to the public. Please visit the site often to learn about changes to the highway design. If you have specific questions, please contact our public information officer at 712-326-3712.

Someone is dumping garbage in a construction zone. What should I do?

You may contact our public information officer at 712-326-3712 to report illegal dumping.

I was contacted with an offer of less than fair market value for my property, but I can’t tell if the offer is from Iowa DOT or another source. What should I do?

Iowa DOT never offers less than fair market value for property. Currently, the Office of Right of Way is not actively conducting acquisitions for the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program and is not directly contacting property owners. This process will not take place until a final design for the remaining segments of the reconstruction program is determined. If you have been contacted regarding selling your property and are confused about whether this is an offer from the DOT, do not hesitate to call our Public Information Officer at (712) 326-3712 to clarify.

Dual, divided freeway FAQs

Why is the interstate being expanded?

On a daily basis, the Council Bluffs Interstate System typically carries 20,000-75,000 vehicles; 11-25% of those are trucks. By 2030, traffic on I-80 between the I-29 interchanges is expected to increase to more than 120,000 vehicles a day. This increase in traffic, coupled with an outdated design standard from the 1950s and 60s is driving system improvements.

Why implement a dual, dual divide freeway? Why not just widen the interstate?

Iowa DOT chose a dual, divided freeway design because it offers greater flexibility to travelers, reduces congestions and will improve safety and efficiency. For example, it allows traffic to keep moving in both directions, even if lanes are closed because of a crash. This design allows through traffic to utilize both express and local lanes, offering more lanes overall. Currently, through traffic merges with local traffic at on and off ramps creating congestion, especially during peak traffic hours. The dual, divided freeway separates through traffic from local traffic, eliminating delay and conflict. The dual, divided freeway will also reduce the number of crashes caused by merging traffic between interchanges.

Are dual, divided freeways a proven solution? Where else are they used?

This is the first of its kind in the region, but dual, divided freeways have been used for many years by DOTs in Illinois, Maryland and Texas.

How is the dual, divided freeway configured?

The dual, divided freeway will be constructed to include three lanes in each direction for I-80 Express and three lanes in each direction for I-29/I-80 Local.
Dual, Divided Freeway Configuration & Signage

How will traffic continue to flow if there is a crash?

Breaks and gates in the barrier will provide access for emergency response vehicles and will allow traffic to shift if lanes need to be closed for a crash.

What if I accidentally choose express lanes (for through traffic) when I meant to use local lanes to exit at 24th Street or South Expressway?

Drivers who choose Express lanes instead of Local lanes should stay in Express lanes until thy can exit past the West System Interchange if traveling westbound, or the East System Interchange if traveling eastbound, and turn around to use Local lanes.

What if I miss my exit to get onto I-29 North and end up in Nebraska?

Continue on to Omaha, Nebraska, exit at 13th Street (Exit 454) and turn around.

I want to get to the MidAmerica Center, recreation fields or one of the shopping centers near 24th Street, how do I get there?

If you are on I-29 northbound or I-80 westbound, you will need to use I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound instead of I-80 Express westbound. Continue until you get to Exit 50, 24th Street. If you are driving on I-29 southbound or I-80 eastbound, your route will not change this year.

I want to get to the shopping centers near South Expressway, how do I get there?

If you are on I-29 northbound or I-80 westbound, you will need to use I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound instead of I-80 Express. Continue until you get to Exit 49, South Expressway. If you are driving on I-29 southbound or I-80 eastbound, your route will not change this year.

I’m traveling I-80, but I need to stop at a truck stop or gas station in Council Bluffs. What route do I need to take?

If you are on I-29 northbound or I-80 westbound, you will need to use I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound instead of I-80 Express. Continue until you get to Exit 49, South Expressway, or Exit 50, 24th Street. If you are driving on I-29 southbound or I-80 eastbound, your route will not change this year.

How will I get to the casinos near I-29 or Tom Hanafan Park?

If you are on I-29 northbound or I-80 westbound, you will be able to use I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound and I-80 Express westbound. Continue until you get to Exit IA, if you’re on I-80 Express westbound, or continue on I-29 northbound if you’re on I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound. If you are driving on I-29 southbound or I-80 eastbound, you route will not change this year.

I meant to stay on I-29 northbound, but entered I-80 Express. How do I go north to Sioux City?

Just stay put! You will be able to exit to I-29 northbound at the West System Interchange (Exit 1).

How do I get to Kansas City with the new configuration?

If you are traveling to Kansas City from the west, your route will not change this year, only the westbound/northbound dual, divided freeway will open in early spring 2019. If you are traveling to Kansas City and coming from the east, you will need to use the exit for I-29 southbound (Exit 4).

When will the dual, divided freeway open?

Westbound I-80 Express and I-29 northbound/I-80 Local westbound will open in early spring 2019. Eastbound I-80 Express and I-29 southbound/I-80 Local eastbound will open in approximately late 2021.  

It feels like this area has been under construction for a long time. When will it all be done?

The entire Program construction is expected to be complete in 2024.

Will Google Maps, Waze or other navigation apps know what lane and exit number to direct me to use?

Program staff and Iowa DOT actively coordinate with navigation apps, but we do not control information on third party applications. We provide updated information ahead of or in real time when changes occur, but cannot guarantee when changes will be reflected. Always pay attention to signing and know your route before you head out.  

What types of vehicles are allowed to use express lanes?

I-80 Express lanes can be used by all types of cars and trucks. It is not limited to carpool or high occupancy vehicle traffic. I-80 Express allows traffic not destined for Council Bluffs exits to continue through the city without encountering merging and weaving local traffic.