Construction season is in high gear after getting off to a slow start due to Iowa’s wettest ever spring. Much of the work is happening on Iowa’s interstates. Cathy Cutler, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says a lot of those improvements are done at night.

“It’s really not a matter of efficiency, but of safety,” Cutler says. “Really, we pay extra for nighttime work because they have to mobilize, obviously, they have to set up lights so they can see their work.” The Iowa DOT scheduled about $600 million worth of construction projects this year. One of the bigger projects involves repairs to Interstate 380 through Cedar Rapids.

“This is the first real facelift since it was built, really, between 1981 and ’83,” Cutler says. The I-380 project is slated to take three years and cost $34.3 million. This year, crews are focusing on resurfacing the southbound lanes. Another project in Iowa City is behind schedule and likely won’t be ready in time for the Iowa Hawkeyes’ first home football game on August 31.

Crews are working to add signals and modernize the Dubuque Street interchange. “We’re hoping to be fully done by the week later, the second home football game. So, we’re hoping to be out of there by then,” Cutler said. Dubuque Street serves as a main entrance into Iowa City.

It carries more than 25,000 vehicles a day between Interstate 80, downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa campus.

By Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids