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Iowa DOT Holds Public Meetings To Discuss I-80 Expansion

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Interstate 80 in the Quad Cities could be expanded to six lanes in the next decade. But first, local residents have a chance to discuss the possible impact.

Sam Shea is a regional planner for the Iowa Department of Transportation. He says the interstate already operates at near-maximum capacity every day. And with traffic numbers expected to increase in coming decades, the DOT is conducting a review to see how adding lanes would affect traffic flow and the environment.

"Locals are aware of things that we don't know about. They're aware of a wetland, they're aware of drainage concerns, they're aware of a local historical site that we don't know about. So we find when we do these public input meetings, we get a lot of that information."

Burial grounds, archaeological sites, and endangered species are also possible environmental concerns.

After the review is done, the DOT will decide how to add lanes to the I-80 without damaging the environment.

"So there's always the potential to no-build, where we do nothing. And then there's the potential to add a lane in each direction. if we add a lane in each direction, do we do the middle, do we do it to the outside, do we shift the whole thing to the south or shift the whole thing to the north."

A public input meeting will be held in-person at the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf on September 23 at 4 PM. An online submission form is also available until October 6th.

Aaryan Balu first set foot in audio journalism at WTJU Charlottesville and WRIR Richmond, and now works as WVIK Quad Cities NPR's Fellowship Host.