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Home Travel I-80/I-680 interchange is Omaha’s busiest

I-80/I-680 interchange is Omaha’s busiest

by Staff

If you find yourself spending more time than ever before navigating the tangled spaghetti bowl of ramps that connect Interstates 80 and 680 in southwest Omaha, you’re not alone.

The latest traffic counts from Omaha’s Metropolitan Area Planning Agency showed that 231,000 cars per day use the three-way interchange, more than any other highway interchange in MAPA’s five-county Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area.

The metro area also includes I-480, U.S. Highway 75 (the North Freeway and the Kennedy Freeway), Interstate 29 in Iowa, and the West Dodge Expressway in west Omaha.

Interstate 80 is Omaha’s traffic behemoth. It mixes local east-west commuters with cross-country travelers moving through the area, close to the geographic center of the United States.

“I-80 is a national artery. It connects both coasts,” said Mike Helgerson, MAPA’s executive director.

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It’s hardly a surprise that the I-80/I-680 merge is the area’s busiest. It’s what Helgerson calls a “system interchange” — one that connects two freeways, rather than a freeway with a surface street.

Looking east at the Interstate 80 and Interstate 680 interchange in early evening. New traffic figures indicate that it is the busiest interchange in the Omaha metropolitan area, used by an average of 231,000 vehicles per day.

“They’re exits to other freeways. We’d expect them to be higher,” he said.

These new figures are based on an average of traffic counts taken at the interchanges in 2021 and 2022, when traffic was starting to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The I-80/I-680 interchange’s daily vehicle count of 231,000 represented a 15% jump from the 2020 count of 197,550, and nearly matched its last pre-pandemic count of 234,000 in 2018.

That number also allowed I-80/I-680 to retake the top spot from Omaha’s other big system interchange, which links I-80 with I-480 and the Kennedy Freeway.

I-80/I-480/Kennedy saw 222,000 vehicles per day on average in 2022, up 11% from its count of 199,450 in 2020. Both figures were lower than the 2018 count of 233,550.

Unsurprisingly, the next five interchanges in the rankings lie between or close to the two big system interchanges along I-80: 72nd Street, 84th Street, 60th Street, 42nd Street and L Street. Their daily counts ranged from 210,500 to 195,500.

One surprising change: traffic at the I-680/West Dodge Expressway interchange fell off sharply from fourth in the 2020 rankings (190,400 vehicles per day) to 11th in 2022 (149,500).

The West Dodge interchanges in 2022 ranged from 115,000 at 168th Street to 135,000 at 144th Street. The busiest Kennedy Freeway interchange: L Street, with 111,000.

On the Iowa side, the interchange of I-80 and Interstate 29 west notched 91,000 vehicles per day in 2022. That ranked it 31st.

Coincidentally, that figure exactly matched the busiest surface street intersection in the Omaha metro area, at 90th Street and West Dodge Road. We’ll have more on Omaha’s busiest intersections in a future story.

If you’re a traffic wonk, you can dig into MAPA’s traffic data at:

MAPA’s Top 10 interchanges for 2022

1. I-80/I-680 — 231,000

2. I-80/I-480/Kennedy — 222,000

3. 72nd St./I-80 — 210,500

4. 84th St./I-80 — 203,000

5. 60th St./I-80 — 197,000

6. 42nd St./I-80 — 195,500

7. L St./I-180 — 195,500

8. W. Center Rd./I-680 — 184,500

9. I St./I-80 — 163,500

10. Pacific St./I-680 — 163,000

What’s New

  • The left lane of southbound Interstate 29 between Exit 55 (North 25th Street) and Exit 61 (Crescent/North Omaha) in Council Bluffs is closed for road construction until 4 p.m. Monday.
  • Traffic will be restricted eastbound on Douglas Street at South 18th Street for fiber-optic installation until Feb. 11.
  • Southbound traffic will be shifted to the center lane on South 108th Street at Valley Street for utility work until Friday. 

  • Dodge Street between 9th and 10th Streets will be restricted westbound for fiber-optic installation until Monday.

  • The intersection of South 48th Street and Saddle Creek Road will have various lane restrictions for sewer repair until Monday.
  • F Street between South 89th and South 87th Streets will be restricted to one lane eastbound for utility work/gas work in the outside curb lane until Monday.

  • Westbound traffic on Western Avenue at North 83rd Street will be restricted for utility work until Monday.

  • Old Coach Road will be closed to through traffic 250 feet west of North 215th Street for utility work until Friday.

Around Omaha

Northwest (north of West Dodge Road and west of I-680)

  • The outside lane is closed eastbound on West Maple Road between 177th and 180th Streets for roadwork related to the construction of a Costco warehouse store. No completion date is listed.
  • State Street is closed from 168th Street to HWS Cleveland Boulevard for grading, paving and reconstruction of the 168th and State intersection until November 2024.
  • North 108th Street between Burt Circle and Decatur Street will be closed with local access only for street widening until July 31.
  • Fort Street between 183rd and 186th Streets is closed because of grading and paving of the three-lane roadway until spring.

Northeast (north of Dodge Street and east of I-680

  • Mary Street between North 75th and North 77th Streets will be closed to through traffic for sewer repair until Tuesday.
  • Southbound traffic is restricted on North 60th Street at Country Club Road because of a water-main break until Monday.
  • Fowler Avenue between North 60th Street and Larimore Avenue will be closed to through traffic for utility work through today.
  • Northwest Radial Highway between North 55th and North 56th Streets is restricted to one lane westbound because of a water-main break until Monday.
  • Traffic on Military Avenue between Northwest Radial Highway and Binney Street will be restricted until further notice southbound for creation of a building safety zone in the curb lane.
  • Westbound Dodge Street between North 38th and North 40th Avenues will be restricted for building construction in the outside curb lane until Thursday.
  • The bridges on Binney Street and Sprague Street over the North Freeway are closed for repair and painting. Traffic is detoured to Lake Street. The Binney Street bridge is expected to reopen in late February and the Sprague Street bridge soon after.
  • Northbound traffic on North 30th Street at Burdette Street will be shifted to the center lane for curb repair until Wednesday.
  • Nicholas Street between North 20th and North 24th Streets will have lane restrictions westbound because of a water-main break until Thursday.
  • North 16th Street will be closed at various points between Pinkney and Clark Streets for CSO sewer separation improvements through Aug. 31.
  • North 16th Street between Corby and Locust Streets will be closed for utility improvements until April 16.
  • Because of construction at the Kiewit corporate campus, North 15th Street between Mike Fahey and California Streets will be restricted southbound, and Mike Fahey between North 16th and North 15th Streets will have eastbound traffic shifted to the center lane until March 15. 
  • Florence Boulevard between Read Street and Sharon Drive will be restricted northbound because of a sewer separation project until Friday.
  • Abbott Drive between Pratt Court and East Carter Boulevard will be restricted to one lane northbound for Eppley Airfield improvements in the outside curb lane until April 20.

Southwest (south of West Dodge Road and west of I-680/80)

  • South 168th Street between Q Street and West Center Road will have lane restrictions for street widening until December 2024.

Southeast (south of West Dodge Road and east of I-680/80)

  • South 90th Street between Woolworth Avenue and Hickory Street is restricted to one lane in each direction in the southbound lanes because of a water-main break until Feb. 14.
  • The West Dodge Frontage Road South between 84th and 86th Streets is closed for building construction until Feb. 29.
  • Frederick Street 75 feet west of South 84th Street is closed for utility work because of a gas leak until Tuesday.
  • South 72nd Street and Mercy Road will have varying lane restrictions for utility work until Tuesday.
  • South 71st Street for about 200 feet north of Hascall Street is closed because of building construction until Feb. 22.
  • Saddle Creek Road will be restricted to one lane southbound at Emile Street for utility work in the outside curb lane until Monday.
  • The eastbound curb lane on Douglas Street will be closed between 44th Street and Saddle Creek Road for construction until March 31.
  • Harney Street between South 38th and South 37th Streets is restricted to one lane eastbound for building construction until Thursday. South 37th Street between Farnam and Harney is closed as part of the same project.
  • Farnam Street between South 37th and South 38th Streets will be restricted to one lane each direction for road construction until April 1.
  • L Street between South 26th and South 24th Streets will be restricted to one lane eastbound for building construction in the outside curb lane until June 23.
  • Traffic in the east curb lane is restricted on South 24th Street between Landon Court and Howard Street due to building construction until Thursday.
  • The northbound lanes of South 18th Street between Farnam and Douglas Streets will be closed to through traffic for relocation of utilities due to the future Omaha streetcar until Feb. 15.
  • 14th Street is closed between Farnam and Douglas Streets, and curbside lanes are closed on Farnam, Douglas and 15th Street until early 2026 because of construction of the new Mutual of Omaha tower.
  • South 15th Street between Farnam and Douglas Streets will be closed for utility work until Feb. 12.
  • Park Avenue between Jackson Street and Dewey Avenue will be restricted to one lane northbound for utility work until Tuesday.

Sarpy/Cass Counties

  • 180th Street is closed for a half-mile south of Highway 370 near Vala’s Pumpkin Patch for replacement of a culvert and reconstruction into a three-lane road until summer 2024. 
  • Platteview Road from Highway 31 to 210th Street is closed through March to allow for construction of a three-lane road. Pflug Road is suggested as an alternate route.
  • Lane restrictions can be expected on U.S. 34/75 from Nebraska Highway 1 to Oak Hill Road in Plattsmouth through November 2024 to allow for road construction.
  • Construction at 204th Street and Capehart Road as part of the Gretna Crossing Park construction project is “substantially complete,” according to a statement from Sarpy County, but the intersection remains closed.

Around Nebraska

  • Head-to-head traffic is limited to 55 mph only on U.S. Highway 30 between North Ridge and North Luther Roads northwest of Fremont until fall 2024.
  • Varying and intermittent lane closures can be expected on U.S. Highway 275 eastbound between B Road (5 miles east of West Point) and Pebble Street (1 mile west of Scribner), using flaggers because of road and bridge construction through summer 2024.
  • Intermittent lane closures will occur on U.S. Highway 77 between Interstate 80 and Bluff Road in Lincoln because of road construction until April.

Council Bluffs/Iowa

  • Occasional nighttime lane and ramp closures may occur on I-80 at the Madison Avenue interchange through June 2026 while the interchange is being rebuilt.
  • Lane restrictions are in place on South Third Street between Story Street and Ninth Avenue until Friday because of water-main installation. 
  • An eastbound lane on Franklin Avenue between Valley View Drive and Kingsridge Drive in Council Bluffs is closed for contractor repairs until Friday.

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