Iowa’s main east-west roadway will be closed at some point Friday as floodwaters are expected to wash over all four lanes of Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa’s Cedar County.
An official with the Iowa Department of Transportation says about 33,000 vehicles use that stretch of interstate every day and a third of them are trucks. D-O-T spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher says the closure is unfortunate, but it can’t be avoided.
Gray-Fisher says, “We are expecting water to cross both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 in Cedar County at approximately mile post 266, just west of the Iowa (Highway) 38 interchange.” A timetable isn’t yet set for the closure as the roadway will be kept open as long as possible — but it’s expected to be sealed off around midday on Friday.
Detours will carry traffic through Cedar Rapids, Mount Vernon and Tipton. Gray-Fisher is urging all regional and coast-to-coast commercial trucking outfits to consider a route that avoids the state entirely. She also asks that all Iowa residents avoid travel on the detour roads, if possible.
“If you live in the area, please don’t use the detour routes that are being established, which includes (Interstate) 380, (Highway) 30 and Iowa (Highway) 38. We are expecting a lot of commercial vehicle operators,” Gray-Fisher says. “This is a heavy truck traffic area of I-80 that is being closed and we’re expecting a lot of congestion on the detour routes.” If someone is trying to make the three-hour trip from Davenport to Des Moines, she says it’ll be at least four hours now, perhaps much longer depending on the vehicle load.
“This is a heavily congested area for truck traffic. This is one of the leading areas for truck traffic. This is for interstate travelers, in particular, we really do want to encourage everyone to avoid the area if at all possible.” The stretch of I-80 will be closed for two or three days. Get updates by calling 5-1-1 or by visiting the D-O-T Traveler Information website.