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Traveling in Iowa? 511 has made some updates to help you through construction season and beyond

04/27/2021

Digest headerWhether you’re a master travel planner or just learning to navigate Iowa’s winter and construction travel seasons, Iowa’s hub for traveler information, www.511ia.org or the Iowa 511 app, is one tool to help you find the most reliable, up-to-date, traffic-related information in the state.

Commercial vehiclesAs you may have noticed, the www.511ia.org website, which has been active for nearly two decades, recently went through a major overhaul. For more than a year the Iowa Department of Transportation ran a test version of the new site alongside the existing site and gathered your feedback on features and functions. With your comments taken into consideration, the new site was fully launched on March 17. The “old” full-featured version and “trucker” versions of the 511 website were retired. The information from both sites have been folded into one robust site designed to allow you maximum flexibility to find the information you need. Professional drivers can still put the site in "trucker mode" by simply turning on the "Commercial Vehicle" toggle at the bottom of the layer bar.

As we move into construction season, one of the most helpful new features is the Weekly Construction Digest. You can choose from pre-defined areas that include major construction projects, metro areas, or regions of the state, and 511 will give you a heads-up regarding construction events starting the next week about active construction events happening in that area. The weekly digest is different from the “Your 511” feature that has been available for some time in that it is only available via email, includes only construction events (Your 511 also includes other traffic incidents), and is for pre-defined areas, not custom routes.

Your 511 vs construction digest

 

How the new construction digest emails work

Construction digestLet’s say you have an area that you travel regularly. You can click the menu button in the upper right corner of www.511ia.org, go to “new 511” and then click “Construction Weekly Digest Sign up.”

Once you enter your e-mail you can select weekly updates on major projects including:

  • Council Bluffs Interstate System
  • Iowa City’s I-80/380 project
  • I-74 project in the Quad Cities

You can also choose to get information in major metro areas including

  • Cedar Falls/Waterloo
  • Cedar Rapids/Iowa City
  • Council Bluffs
  • Des Moines
  • Quad Cities
  • Sioux City

A third option allows you to choose a region of the state.

511 regional mapOnce you set up the digest, you’ll receive an email every Friday afternoon that includes all construction events that are active or planned to start and may impact traffic for the next week. If the information is changed during the week, you’ll receive an email with the update. Included with your construction update is a link to each project as it is shown on www.511ia.org.

Constuction digest sample
Here’s what a sample email looks like.

Being aware of work zones helps you avoid them if possible or know that you will encounter them on your trip so that you can prepare to travel safely through them.” Then you could always put in the plea to slow down and pay attention if you can get it to flow.


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Iowa highway in the evening