Interstate 380 Iowa
Interstate 380 forms a long freeway spur leading northwest from I-80 as part of the multi-state Avenue of the Saints corridor (Iowa 27). I-380 joins the cities of Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City in east central Iowa. Coupled with U.S. 218/Iowa 27, the interstate forms a seamless expressway route south to Mount Pleasant, the Keukuk area and ultimately St. Louis, Missouri.
Construction from 2017 to 2024 replaces the cloverleaf joining Interstate 80 with U.S. 218/Iowa 27 (Avenue of the Saints) on the western outskirts of Iowa City into a systems interchange. Interstate 380 begins there, with the three routes leading north by the growing suburb of North Liberty to cross Coralville Lake (Iowa River). A rural stretch ensues northward to the Linn County line, where industrial parks appear through the south side of Cedar Rapids.
Interstate 380 and Iowa 27 (Avenue of the Saints) parts ways with U.S. 218 at the freeway along U.S. 30/151 running across the south side of Cedar Rapids. Continuing north, I-380/Iowa 27 become more urban onto the viaduct leading to the Cedar River. This stretch of freeway navigates through an S-curve as it spans the river east to run between Downtown and the Quaker Oats factory. Speed limits on this section are set at 55 miles per hour, with automated enforcement by the city of Cedar Rapids via speed cameras positioned to the south near 3rd Avenue SW and to the north near H Avenue. Four sets of cameras were installed in 2010. IowaDOT ruled that two of the assemblies must be disabled or removed in March 2015, stating that there was no safety rationale for their use.1 They remained in operation as of March 2016 due to an ongoing appeal filed by the city. An updated ordnance was filed by the city in 2019, and the automated traffic enforcement (ATE) continues operating today. The threshold for receiving a citation is 12 miles over the posted limit of 55 MPH.2
Advancing north from central Cedar Rapids, I-380/Iowa 27 remains a busy route to the city of Hiawatha. The freeway eventually leaves suburban areas beyond Robins and becomes rural to Center Point, a bedroom community in northern Linn County. I-380 continues through rural areas of Benton and Buchanan Counties.
Interstate 380 and Iowa 27 combine with the freeway along U.S. 20 east of Raymond and Evansdale as they enter the Waterloo area. The three routes overlap for six miles to a separation just west of the Cedar River. Iowa 27 and the Avenue of the Saints corridor remain west along U.S. 20 to Iowa 58 as it bypasses central Waterloo while U.S. 218 rejoins Interstate 380 along a two mile long spur into the city. I-380 concludes at the at-grade intersection of U.S. 218 (Washington Street) and Mitchell Avenue.
U.S. 218 extends northward from the I-380 terminus along a divided boulevard to a separate freeway linking Downtown with Cedar Falls and the Avenue of the Saints corridor to the northwest. There are no plans to join these two sections of highway presently, though ample right of way exists between Hawthorne Avenue and the freeway beginning at 6th Street.
I-80/I-380 Systems Interchange Project
Started in July 2017, ongoing construction replaces the cloverleaf joining I-80/380 at Coralville with a turbine interchange. Work through August 2024 also expands I-80 to eight lanes west to Ireland Avenue and to ten lanes east to Coral Ridge Avenue. Expansion along I-380 widens the freeway northward through the interchange with Forevergreen Road to six overall lanes.
The exchange with Forevergreen Road opened to traffic by November 4, 2019. This included Forevergreen Road east from I-380/U.S. 218 to Coral Ridge Avenue. The realignment of Kansas Avenue SW was completed in June 2019.
Construction in 2020 focused on building the new flyover from I-80 east to I-380/U.S. 218 north and the ramp to U.S. 218 south.
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-380 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
The alignment of Interstate 380 between Cedar Rapids and U.S. 20 near Raymond was contested by area farmers, leading to litigation based delays until 1979.4
The 1981 map showed the full build out planned for Interstate 380 through Waterloo. The alignment along Washington Street was dropped officially in 1981, with the section north from Downtown assigned as U.S. 218 when it opened in 1992.2
The I-380 designation was initially applied by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) to the Des Moines urban loop along side Interstate 235. The I-380 overlap was removed by AASHO on November 10, 1958.3
Interstate 380 was established by AASHTO from I-80 north to Waterloo via Cedar Rapids on June 23, 1969. It appears the number 380 was selected instead of 180 to offset duplication with Iowa 180, a former state route linking Hayesville with Iowa 149 in Keokuk County.
The freeway opened in stages, starting in 1973 and finishing 1985. The following list provides the opening dates for the freeway:4
- Interstate 80 north to Exit 13 (CR E70) in Cedar Rapids: September 19, 1973
- Exit 13 to U.S. 30-151-218 (Lincoln Freeway): June 25, 1976
- U.S. 30-151-218 Lincoln Freeway to 5th Avenue SW: December 15, 1976
- 5th Avenue SW to 8th Street NE: June 11, 1979
- 8th Street NW to Glass Road: December 4, 1981
- Glass Road to Boyson Road: November 17, 19825
- Hiawatha to Iowa 150 near Urbana: August 14, 19845
- Iowa 150 to U.S. 20: September 12, 19855
- U.S. 20 to Mitchell Avenue: August 9, 19845
North End / Mitchell Avenue – Waterloo, Iowa
Northbound U.S. 218 transitions directly onto I-380 at the cloverstack interchange with U.S. 20/Iowa 27 (Avenue of the Saints). Exit numbers correspond with Interstate 380. Photo by Jeff Morrison (07/25/07).
East South at
South End – Coralville, Iowa
I-80 continues one mile east from the exchange with Ireland Avenue at Tiffin to I-380/U.S. 218. Photo by Peter Johnson (06/21/20).
U.S. 218 is a rarity: an even-numbered north-south U.S. route. Other north-south even-numbered U.S. routes include U.S. 550 in Colorado and U.S. 220 between North Carolina and New York. Prior to its renumbering as U.S. 491 on July 1, 2003, U.S. 666 in Colorado and New Mexico was another fitting this criteria.
Exit 239A departs from I-80 east for U.S. 218/Iowa 27 south to Mt. Pleasant, Keokuk and St. Louis, Missouri. Iowa 27 was designated in 2001 to provide a single route number for the Avenue of the Saints corridor. Photo by Peter Johnson (06/21/20).
Iowa 27 overlaps with several other routes across the Hawkeye State, with the exception of the southernmost 18 miles from the Missouri line to the merge with U.S. 218.
Construction in 2020 replaces the loop ramp (Exit 239B) for I-380/U.S. 218-Iowa 27 north to Cedar Rapids and Waterloo with a high speed flyover. Photo by Peter Johnson (06/21/20).
I-380 doubles as a commuter route between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, with 2014 IowaDOT traffic counts topping out at 55,600 vehicles per day at the Linn County line.
South End Throwback
Interstate 80 east at I-380 prior to the designation of Iowa 27 for the Avenue of the Saints. Photo by Jason Hancock (02/00).
Another change in this set of signs was the removal of Iowa 965 for the pre-freeway alignment of U.S. 218 along Coral Ridge Avenue between U.S. 6 and North Liberty to the east.
The signs for Exits 239B and 240 were amended to show Iowa 27 north along I-380 and omit Iowa 965, which was decommissioned July 1, 2001, for the adjacent interchange by Coral Ridge Mall. Photo by Jason Hancock (01/06).
U.S. 218 bypassed Iowa City in 1985 when it shifted to I-380 and the new freeway south from I-80.
- “How one city in Iowa caught 160,000 speeders in less than two years.” Star Tribune (Cedar Rapids, IA), May 13, 2015.
- “Speed cameras still operating in Cedar Rapids.” KWWL (Cedar Rapids, IA), March 2 2016.
- Stephen Summers’s Interstate system route numbering page.
- “Iowa Completion Status of Interstate System as of January 1, 1982.” Iowa Department of Transportation.
- I-380 Iowa Highways Page.
Page updated November 3, 2020.