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CR Drivers: Expect Delays, Detours

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -  It's often repeated as a joke, but the statement that Iowa has two seasons .. Winter and road construction, isn't getting many laughs near Collins Road in Northeast Cedar Rapids.

On the first day for lane closures where the Highway 100 extension will pass under Edgewood Road, hundreds of drivers sat in long lines just trying to reach their destinations. Iowa Department of Transportation Planner Catherine Cutler says it's just one of the projects in the corridor that could cause highway headaches and encourage commuters to find another way home or to work this summer.

Crews will also be doing a total reconstruction job on Highway 30.  That will mean four months of closed lanes, cross-overs and closed ramps between Stoney Point Road and Edgewood Road. Another project on the S -curve of Interstate-380 is already underway, but it's restricted to night construction and impacts far fewer drivers.

It's the long awaited Highway 100 extension that has the potential to have motorists pounding on their steering wheels and spouting some colorful language,  " We're hoping local commuters will find some alternate routes.  Certainly areas like the Hy Vee entrance will always stay open, but it's really a matter of trying to funnel four lanes of traffic down to two and for a very lengthy period of time. "  Cutler said.

The ribbon cutting on Highway 100 won't happen until 2019, but just the lane closures on Edgewood Road near the massive intersection where the existing stretch of 100 will slide under Edgewood could give drivers fits for the next 18 months.

If the first day of merging, with confused drivers, a lot of honking horns and reactions that would require a professional lip reader to decipher  is any indication, commuter Jorgan Hauschild is exactly right, " It's gonna be a long 18 months."

Some people may be able to find other routes to travel, but Edgewood Road spans a part of the city with few East-West alternatives and Hauschild suspects he'll be idling in traffic, " I travel it like every day on my way to classes, so yea, it's gonna be a brutal one."

City crews have their own list of projects and hope motorists can get ahead of the curve planning how they will handle the delays.  Public Works Director and City Engineer David Elgin says there are several on the drawing board but he wants drivers to be aware of four in particular.

Crews will perform maintenance on both the 8th Avenue Bridge and Edgewood Road Bridge for about two weeks during midsummer. Extensive work will also be done on Boyson Road from early July until late Fall. But the biggest potential bottleneck could come on First Avenue East between 34th Street and 40th Street. Elgin says utility work is starting there in preparation for work on the street next year. He says there will be lane closures and the work will last into the fall. Elgin says every effort will be made to minimize disruptions in traffic, but unfortunately there aren't a lot of good alternative routes to First Avenue. He says he hopes if drivers know this far ahead of time they may be able to work on a strategy.
Cutler says no one enjoys driving on bumpy, pothole filled roads, but she also realizes many people get frustrated dealing with the delays and detours necessary to fix those roads, " We just all have to remember it takes time to make those improvements and also that it could be anyone's family member who is out there doing the repairs and construction. Just a reminder to keep yourself safe and please remember there are workers out there." 

There are dozens of road projects scheduled for the corridor this construction season.  For a closer look at where they are and whether they are along your regular commute, click here.
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