FLOYD — The Iowa Department of Transportation says the reconstruction of the US 18/218 interchange on the Avenue of the Saints near Floyd should be completed next week.
The DOT’s Pete Hjelmstad says motorists will see traffic pattern changes starting on Monday. “The plan is right now that on Monday afternoon, the westbound lanes will open. That includes the new highway, the new bridge, as well as the new on-and-off ramps. The eastbound traffic will still continue to be using the ramps to get through as they are now, but then on Tuesday, we plan to open the eastbound lanes as well. So by Tuesday afternoon, we hope to have the full interchange open for traffic using the bridges and the on and off ramps.”
Hjelmstad says there will still be some finishing touches that work crews will need to do to that area. “We will have the inside lanes closed on the Avenue so we can still do some work in the median. We have a lot of different things to tidy up. Like I’ve been telling people too, when you do something like this and you open it up with the traffic control, it’s not just moving a couple of barricades and waving the green flag for everybody to take off. You’ve got thousands of lane separators that need to be removed. The highway is painted in a way right now for two-way traffic, head-to-head traffic. That paint needs to be removed and new paint put down. We’ve got traffic signals down at the bottom of the ramps that we have to deal with. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
The goal was to have the two-and-a-half year project done by Thanksgiving, and Hjelmstad says they are happy to be able to meet that deadline. “As we have been saying since the project started two-and-a-half years ago, our goal was to have it open by Thanksgiving of 2023, and if things continue to go the way they are, which we’re pretty sure they will, we are going to meet that goal.”
The Iowa Department of Transportation approved the construction of the elevated interchange back in 2017 with a $25 million price tag.