The Iowa DOT is conducting a wide-ranging study on the future of Interstate-80 (I-80) within the borders of our state. Citing increased traffic congestion, more crashes and fatalities, changes in vehicle automation and significant anticipated freight traffic growth, a big piece of the study is evaluating the possibility of expanding the number of lanes from the current four to six.

Reconstructing the highway interstate system will require the removal of existing overhead structures, known as overpasses, to accommodate the additional lanes. In the rural parts of I-80, these overpasses are usually either to allow county roads to go over the interstate highway or the county road to go under the interstate highway.

Once the highway is expanded to six lanes, what happens to the overpasses? Are they all re-built? Are only some re-built? Who pays for the reconstruction? Who makes the determination between which ones are reconstructed and which ones are not?

Costs to reconstruct these overpasses over or under a widened interstate range from between $1.3 million to $1.9 million each....