If you need to travel through Council Bluffs this weekend, you may want to stay off Interstate 80. Construction near the Lake Manawa exit could cause some traffic headaches. The work could also take a toll on local businesses.
Many of the cones and barrels are already out, ready to help funnel traffic down to one lane through this busy stretch of interstate. Westbound I-80 from Madison Avenue to the 24th Street exit will be down to one lane from 7 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Monday. The lane closures are necessary for bridge maintenance work.
Not only will this stretch of highway be down to one lane westbound, but the Lake Manawa exit will be closed to all westbound traffic. That means westbound travelers will have to go all the way to 24th Street and turn around to get back to the Lake Manawa exit.
That has businesses like Old River Pizza concerned. “Everything here is made from scratch, from our dough, sausage, sauces, everything starts from the ground up,” says co-owner Jared Podraza, who adds they do get quite a bit of business from the interstate.
“Everybody nowadays wants things to be convenient for them. If they can't get off at this exit, obviously they're going to move to the next one, but locally, people are going to find us either way. So we'll get through it. It's just another challenge for us to make our way through."
Construction work underneath the interstate bridge was already underway along the South Expressway at the Lake Manawa exit, giving motorists a preview of what traffic might be like on the interstate itself this weekend.
The inconvenience will eventually lead to a much improved interstate, which should benefit everyone in the area. "We'll just get through the hard times and hope that all this is going to be worth it in the end,” says Old River Pizza co-owner Tammy Podraza.