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City of Cedar Rapids Pushing For I-380 Expansion

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- By the end of the decade, your I- 380 commute could get more tiresome.

We really look at things by when the level of service starts to get worse, and for us that starts in about 2020, said Cathy Cutler with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Their 2012 study, which looked at the interstate from the I-80 interchange, all the way to Wright Brothers Boulevard, shows several areas of traffic concern.

Among the most pressing concerns is the stretch between Swisher to Wright Brothers Boulevard. For I-DOT, the study leads to one solution.

Add lanes on the inside as we did throughout I-80 through Coralville and Iowa City, and then put a concrete barrier down the middle, Cutler said. 

Cutler says that plan would give I-380 6 lanes for the 11 mile stretch - from the interchange to Wright Brothers Blvd. It would expand the lanes from the inside so they could stay within the right away.

The solution is fairly simple...securing funding is anything but.

Not including this project, I-DOT says it has identified $200 million dollars in project needs it currently doesn't have funding for.

The DOT has a finite amount of dollars, Cutler said. Without something like a gas tax expansion or additional revenues coming into the state, there really isn't enough money to do these kinds of projects."

The City of Cedar Rapids says it wants to make the push before it's too late. City engineer David Elgin says the city will do what it can to make sure the project is a priority for I-DOT - from meeting with Transportation planning agencies to using legislative influences.

It does boil down to getting priorities assigned and dealing with those priorities, Elgin said. 

As for funding, Elgin says the city is hoping a change in the gas tax could give them the boost they need.

Whether it's state or federal, its clear there is not sufficient use tax being collected to be able to fund the needs of the infrastructure that's needed to serve those vehicles that are on the roads, Elgin said.

I-DOT says nothing can get off the ground here until an environmental study is done. That study hasnt even been commissioned yet. There isn't any word yet on how much the project could potentially cost.
 
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