IC mayor pens second draft of letter against I-380 expansion

IC mayor pens second draft of letter against I-380 expansion
KCJJ Staff

Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton has presented a second draft of his letter to the Department of Transportation asking it not to expand Interstate 380 to six lanes.

Throgmorton says in the letter to Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT director, the city has “serious concerns” about the proposal, which would add one lane in each direction between the soon-to-be built Forevergreen Road interchange and Highway 30. He says the city praises and strongly supports other modes of public transit the DOT tries, saying they need to move from “transportation planning” to evaluating alternative land development and transportation scenarios for the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor.

Throgmorton first presented a draft of the letter to the council in April, receiving general support from the rest of the council. In the letter, he enumerates five concerns they have with the project, ranging from an “exorbitant” projected cost of $400 million – inflation-adjusted out to 2027 – “questionable” assumptions about future traffic volumes and safety, a “disregard for climate change,” and the apparent ignoring of the future of autonomous vehicles.

Instead, he asks the DOT to assess alternative scenarios, one relying on commuter rail between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and the other a simple continuation of current conditions and patterns.

The DOT has released plans showing a widening of the roughly 10-mile stretch of I-380 beginning in 2025.