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Interstate 680 Nebraska / Iowa

 

The city of Omaha is home to 390,976 residents, and nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa is home to 58,268 residents as of the 2000 Census. Interstate 680 offers a bypass of the downtown areas of both cities.

Routing

Interstate 680 in Iowa/Nebraska is the northern bypass of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Interstate 680 directional tags change from north/south to east/west at approximately mile marker 8.2 in north Omaha, between the Nebraska 133 and 72nd Street exits.1

Planned Improvements

The section of Interstate 680 from Interstate 80 north to Exit 5 (Fort Street) has been reconstructed to incorporate additional lanes. The 2007-2011 State Transportation Improvement Program for District Two indicates that widening to six lanes will continue north from Fort Street to Irvington Road (a distance of 1.2 miles at a projected cost of $12.6 million). Bridge work is planned for Pacific Street (Exit 2) and Fort Street (Exit 5).

An ancillary project, which includes reconstruction of Exit 3, Junction U.S. 6/West Dodge Road, involves the conversion of U.S. 6 into a freeway between 129th Street and Interstate 680. Exit 3 was formerly a cloverleaf interchange, but now two non-directional flyovers are being constructed to eliminate the loop ramp from Interstate 680 northbound to West Dodge Road westbound and the loop ramp from West Dodge Road eastbound to Interstate 680 northbound. In December 10, 2003, the flyover from Interstate 680 to West Dodge Road westbound is open, with the loop ramp needed to be demolished to make way for the other flyover. Other construction on U.S. 6/West Dodge Road will see the creation of express lanes to and from 129th street and Interstate 680 to handle thru-traffic interests on West Dodge Road.2

The Mormon Bridge carries Interstate 680 traffic across the Missouri River. This view is looking east toward Iowa.

History

Originally, what is now Interstate 680 was planned into two parts: Interstate 280, the loop from Interstate 80 west of Omaha to Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs, and Interstate 80N, the independent section of Interstate 680 east of Interstate 29 in Iowa. Early maps (1960-1965) Pictured the Nebraska section of the route as "Interstate 280." The Interstate 280 designation was dropped once it was realized that Iowa would have had two separate Interstates numbered 280: one here and the other at the Quad Cities (Moline/Bettendorf).

This 1961 Iowa Official State Map shows the original proposed numbering of Interstate 680 as Interstate 280 on the bypass around Omaha and Council Bluffs. Map scanned by Jeff Morrison, 02/03/07.

Eleven years later, this map inset from the 1972 Iowa Official Map shows the original routing of Interstate 80N during the era when modern Interstate 680 was signed as Interstate 80N. At this time, Interstate 680 was not fully constructed in Nebraska.

By the early 1970s, Interstate 680 was extended north along Interstate 29 and then east along former Interstate 80N. This 16-mile freeway between Interstate 29 and Interstate 80 opened to traffic only a year or two before the highway was renumbered as Interstate 680.

Here are the key dates in the history of Interstate 680:3 4 5

  • 1952 - Mormon Bridge (across Missouri River) constructed and opened as Iowa 988/Nebraska 36; it would be incorporated into Interstate 680 in 1980, once it was improved to four lanes and approaches to the bridge from both directions were built
  • 1961 - Interstate 680 from Interstate 80 in Nebraska to Exit 3 (Junction U.S. 6) completed
  • 12/13/1966 - Interstate 80N from Interstate 29 to Interstate 80 opened6
  • 1971 - segment between Interstate 29 and Interstate 80 in Iowa constructed
  • 1973 - Interstate 680 replaced Interstate 80N designation in Iowa
  • 1974 - remainder of route in Nebraska completed; at this time, Nebraska had finished its entire Interstate Highway Network as originally envisioned
  • 1980 - segment between Mormon Bridge and Interstate 29 completed; toll collection at Mormon Bridge across Missouri River for eastbound traffic ends
  • early 2000s - section between Interstate 80 and Exit 5, Fort Street, widened to three through lanes in each direction, plus auxiliary lanes

Western/Southern Terminus - Interstate 80 - west of Omaha, Nebraska
Perspective from Interstate 680 south
Southbound Interstate 680 reaches Exit 2, Pacific Street. The final two exits are Exit 1, West Center Road (former Nebraska 38), I Street, Junction U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 (L Street), and Q Street. and (Exit 0) Junction Interstate 80. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
This mileage sign along southbound Interstate 680 provides the distance to West Center Road; I Street, Junction U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 (L Street), and Q Street; and Junction Interstate 80. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Southbound Interstate 680 approaches Exit 1, which connects to West Center Road, I Street, Junction U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 (L Street), and Q Street. The pull through sign for Interstate 680 also lists Interstate 80 as the control point. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
The ramp from southbound Interstate 680 to Exit 1 provides a connection first to West Center Road, then follows with a connection to U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 and a series of local streets: I Street, L Street, and Q Street. The junction with Interstate 80 immediately follows after this interchange. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
For its final mile, Interstate 680 is a dual freeway. On the Exit 1 ramp, the first exit of four is served -- West Center Road -- and the ramp continues to parallel Interstate 680 before merging onto the Interstate 80 collector-distributor ramp that connects to U.S. 275/Nebraska 92. So in essence, Exit 1 also provides a connection to Interstate 80, while the main lanes are the direct bypass route. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
The two left lanes connect to Interstate 80 east, while the two right lanes connect to Interstate 80 west. The connection from southbound Interstate 680 to eastbound Interstate 80 is part of a commuting pattern to downtown Omaha. The transition to westbound Interstate 80 is part of the bypass route around downtown Council Bluffs and Omaha. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
As noted earlier, the collector-distributor lanes also split, with the left lane connecting to eastbound Interstate 80 and the right lanes connecting to westbound Interstate 80. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Southbound Interstate 680 ends as the freeway splits between eastbound and westbound Interstate 80. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Perspective from Interstate 80 east
Interstate 80 turns north as it enters the city limits of Omaha from the southwest. The first of nine exits to serve the city of 390,976 is Exit 445 with U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 along L Street. This cloverleaf interchange is situated 0.75 miles to the south of the Interstate 80/680 eastbound split at Exit 446. Photo taken by Nick Wiltgen (05/01).
Interstate 80 eastbound at the L Street overpass and cloverleaf ramp to U.S. 275 north/Nebraska 92 west. The collector/distributor roadway of Exit 445 continues northward along Interstate 80 to the Interstate 680 terminal interchange. Traffic movements from U.S. 275 and Nebraska 92 are segregated from Interstate 80 until after the split with Interstate 680. Photo taken by Nick Wiltgen (05/01).
Interstate 680 northbound begins at Exit 446 of Interstate 80 east. To the right is the collector/distributor lane from Exit 445. Interstate 80 travels six miles to Interstate 480 which links the freeway to Downtown Omaha. Interstate 680 peculiarly is not given a control city. Photo taken by Dale Sanderson (2001).
Perspective from Interstate 80 west
This mileage sign along westbound Interstate 80 is the first indication of the pending junction with Interstate 680, four miles west of here. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
At Exit 448 (84th Street), a second sign advising westbound motorists of the junction with Interstate 680 (Exit 446) is posted. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
The next two exits along westbound Interstate 80 are Exit 445, Junction U.S. 275/Nebraska 92 and Exit 446, Junction Interstate 680. Exit 445 is technically west of Exit 446, but the maze of ramps and collector/distributor routes require an earlier exit to U.S. 275 and Nebraska 92. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
On this five-lane section of westbound Interstate 80, only the left two lanes continue as through traffic. The two right lanes exit to U.S. 275 and Nebraska 92. The middle lane connects to Interstate 680 north. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Interstate 680 travels north to serve as the western and northern bypass of Omaha. However, it is also a hub of a growing suburban area around Omaha, and this including the booming corridor along U.S. 6, West Dodge Road, which is being converted into a freeway. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Interstate 80 westbound at the Exit 445 collector/distributor roadway beginning. The roadway segregates local traffic movements from the Exit 446/Interstate 680 interchange as it connects to numerous area roadways: former Nebraska 38/West Center Road to the north and I Street, Q Street, and U.S. 275/Nebraska 92/L Street to the south. As a side note, former Nebraska 38 is the original alignment of former U.S. 38 in the Omaha area. The state route was decommissioned in 2003. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
The split of Interstate 680 north from Interstate 80 west at Exit 446 as seen from the gore point. Interstate 80 leaves the city of Omaha with all traffic movements segregated from the c/d lane. Therefore the next interchange is Exit 443 at 126th Street. Interstate 680 sees its first exit at former Nebraska 38/Exit 1 (although traffic from Interstate 80 west to Interstate 680 north must use the Exit 445 c/d roadway to access West Center Road). Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Now on the transition ramp from westbound Interstate 80 to northbound Interstate 80, these signs reaffirm which route motorists took. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
From the transition ramp from westbound Interstate 80 to northbound Interstate 80, it is clear that the recently reconstructed interchange allows for a sweeping, high speed movement. The collector-distributor ramp for Exit 445 (Junction U.S. 275/Nebraska 92) is shown on the flyover ramp that crosses over this transition ramp. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Perspective from Interstate 680 north
This is the view of northbound Interstate 680 as the nascent freeway begins its journey north through Omaha's suburban areas. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
This pull through overhead sign for northbound Interstate 680 as it approaches Exit 2 (Pacific Street) is the first reassurance shield on northbound. Photo taken by AARoads (09/05/05).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 80 - northeast of Council Bluffs, Iowa
Perspective from Interstate 680 east
This view of Interstate 680 is taken after a recent snowfall and gives a fair idea of the look and feel of the highway in rural western Iowa, including the section it shares with Interstate 29. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/04/05).
This two and a half mile advance sign is the first warning of the pending junction with Interstate 80 along eastbound Interstate 680. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/04/05).
This is the view of the Interstate 80 and Interstate 680 interchange in Iowa northeast of Council Bluffs and west of Shelby as seen from eastbound Interstate 680. The interchange is set in a valley and is spread over a fairly sizable area. The lack of development, lack of trees, and location in a valley makes the interchange immediately visible for eastbound traffic. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/04/05).
Interstate 680 as it draws to a close at Exit 29A/B - Interstate 80. Exit 29B continues Interstate 680 eastbound motorists to the capital city of Des Moines. The city limits of Des Moines are 100 miles to the east via Interstate 80 and Interstate 235. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/04/05).
The same sign bridge as seen two years prior. Exit 29A allows Interstate 680 motorists to return southwestward toward Council Bluffs and Interstate 29. This movement is useful for Iowa 191 southbound traffic interests from Persia, Portsmouth, and Panama. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (06/09/03).
Perspective from Interstate 80 west
The first advance sign for Interstate 680 on westbound Interstate 80 is this two and a half miles sign for Exit 27. Interstate 680 serves as a bypass of Omaha and connects to Interstate 29 north en route to Sioux City. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/15/06).
Diagrammatical overhead for the pending Interstate 80/680 westbound split at Exit 27. Interstate 680 is signed with Sioux City for the connection with Interstate 29 north. The Missouri River city is located 89 miles to the northwest. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (06/09/03) and Steve Hanudel (05/15/06).
The left two lanes continue west on Interstate 80 to Council Bluffs and downtown Omaha; the right lane exits onto Interstate 680 west to North Omaha and to Interstate 29. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (06/09/03) and Steve Hanudel (05/15/06).
Westbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 27, Junction Interstate 680 west. The section of Interstate 680 from here west to Interstate 29 was originally signed as Interstate 80N. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/15/06).
Perspective from Interstate 80 east
Eastbound Interstate 80 at the terminus of Interstate 680. The Exit 27 tab appears to be placed on the overhead Interstate 80 sign in error, since that is the mainline freeway. Photo taken by Dale Sanderson (2001).
Perspectives from Iowa 191/Pottawattamie County G8L
Between Jan. 1, 1969 and July 1, 2003, Iowa 191 paralleled Interstate 80's diagonal to Council Bluffs. Today it ends at Interstate 680. Signage at this interchange only indicates west Interstate 680 and east Interstate 80, even though one could go onto westbound 80 after joining the freeway. This is (was) facing north on Iowa 191 (now County Route G8L); the state shield in the background has since been removed.1 Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (06/09/03).
Facing south on Iowa 191, just north of the freeway. Back around July 1, 2003, this was the last Iowa 191 shield facing southbound, and still looks the same, even though it should now read "End Iowa 191".1 However, this changed with the addition of such a shield assembly by July 2005 (see next photo). Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (06/09/03).
Here is the replacement signage as seen on Iowa 191 at the point where it meets Interstate 80 and Interstate 680 and then changes into County Route G8L. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison and Jason Hancock (06/12/05).

Sources:

  1. Information and write-up provided by Jeff Morrison
  2. From John 2889 at MSN dot com - "Interstate 680 Iowa/Nebraska Additions and Edits," 12/10/03
  3. Iowa Highways: Interstate 680 (Jason Hancock)
  4. Nebraska Highways: Interstate 680 (Chris Geelhart)
  5. Three Digit Interstates: Interstate 680 (Scott Oglesby/Kurumi.com)
  6. Iowa Interstate - 50th Anniversary (web site no longer online)

Page Updated February 12, 2007.

 
Mileage

State Nebraska
Mileage 13.32
Cities Omaha
Junctions Interstate 80
State Iowa
Mileage 29.54*
Cities None
Junctions Interstate 29, Interstate 80
TOTAL 42.86
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 680 Annual Average Daily Traffic

Nebraska
County From: To: AADT Composite
Douglas Interstate 80 Exit 3/ U.S. 6/ W. Dodge Rd. 90,325
Douglas Exit 3/ U.S. 6/ W. Dodge Rd. Exit 4/ Nebraska 64 65,600
Douglas Exit 4/ Nebraska 64 Exit 6/ Nebraska 133 50,060
Douglas Exit 6/ Nebraska 133 Exit 12/ U.S. 75 31,140
Douglas Exit 12/ U.S. 75 IA state line 16,500
Iowa
County From: To: AADT Composite
Pottawattamie Exit 1/ River Road N Interstate 29 14,700
Pottawattamie Interstate 29 overlap begin Interstate 29 overlap end 20,300
Pottawattamie Interstate 29 Exit 28/ Iowa 191 5,600
Pottawattamie Exit 28/ Iowa 191 Interstate 80 6,200
Source: 2002 Traffic Flow Map of the State Highways (State of Nebraska)
Iowa Vehicular Traffic Map 2002 (IADOT)

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