Major changes coming to expressway Wednesday morning

Published: Mar. 26, 2019 at 9:57 PM CDT
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Before the Wednesday morning commute, the Interstate 80 and Interstate 29 expressway is going to have an all-new look.

The Iowa Department of Transportation got ready on Tuesday to open the new, dual divided freeway.

The change is meant to split traffic on I-80 and I-29, but some drivers are worried because they have no idea it's coming.

"I have no clue about that. It'll be my first time ever driving on that, so that'll be a fun experience," driver Sylas Jordan said.

The Tuesday preparation caused a bit of a mess.

"This morning was terrible just from the one closure," driver Jennifer Leutzinger said. "There was no signal of anybody knowing anything going on this morning, so if it's not out-and-about tomorrow, it's going to be just as bad, if not worse."

The I-29 and I-80 express lanes will now be walled off from one another, forcing drivers to look ahead and pay attention to where they're going. If they end up on the wrong side of the wall there's no going back.

"There will be a lot more drivers that are... confused if they don't know. And then if they get stuck on one side of the wall, they're not going to be able to get over," Leutzinger said.

She drives from Carson, Iowa to get to work in Omaha. IF she misses her merge, she'll have to find her own detour.

"That's going to be an even longer delay to have to turn around and come back if you do miss your exit," Leutzinger said. "It's going to take a good month probably for people to get the hang of it."

Those who know about the change are grateful for the heads up.

"I already have to be at work early and I already know I'm going to be out there late and if I wouldn't have known that I for sure would've been late to work," Jordan said.

Drivers who miss the merge onto I-29 north and get stuck on I-80 westbound will have to turn around at the 13th St. exit.

Those who commented on the change said they know it will be a difficult adjustment, but believe it will smooth out traffic at the interchange eventually.