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Release: Immediate

UI offers travel and parking tips for Hawkeye football fans

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The goal is the same, but the obstacles have changed. Fans traveling to Iowa City for University of Iowa football games will again face the prospect of delays due to road construction.

The good news: Road and bridge work on Melrose Avenue near Kinnick Stadium is completed. So is the construction work on Dubuque Street between Interstate 80 and the Park Road Bridge. And the Wolf Avenue bridge, which spans U.S. 6 near the Veterans Administration Medical Center, is also expected to be open before the season's first game, Sept. 5, with Central Michigan.

The not-so-good news:

* Traffic may be congested at I-80 exit 240 (Highway 965) because of the opening of the new Coral Ridge Mall.

* Construction of a new bridge over Clear Creek is causing traffic congestion on U.S. 6 (Second Street) in Coralville. Traffic narrows to two lanes in that area.

* Newton Road on the north side of UI Hospitals and Clinics is also under construction. At times, that road is limited to one lane, requiring traffic to alternate.

There are two construction projects on I-80 in the Iowa City and Coralville area - at the bridge over the Iowa River and just east of the I-380 interchange - but two lanes of traffic are being maintained in each direction and no delays are expected, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Fans traveling to Iowa City from the east on I-80 may face delays between the U.S. 61 and

I-74 interchanges in Davenport.

Charles Green, UI public safety director, offers these tips for getting into Iowa City:

* I-80 westbound, use exits 244 (Dubuque Street) or 246 (Dodge Street).

* I-80 eastbound, take Highway 218 south and exit at Melrose Avenue or use I-80 exit 242 (First Avenue in Coralville).

* From the south on Highway 218, use either the Riverside Drive exit or the Melrose Avenue exit. Those who exit at Riverside Drive should proceed north to Grand Avenue, which leads past the UI Field House and to Melrose Avenue.

* Follow DOT "Football Stadium Exit" signs along all routes.

Fans can avoid the congested traffic near the stadium by parking at any of three municipal parking ramps in downtown Iowa City or parking on the east side of Iowa City and using municipal buses to reach downtown. There is a fee of 75 cents per person for Iowa City buses.

Beginning 90 minutes before gametime, free UI Cambus service will shuttle fans from the downtown Pentacrest and from Hancher Auditorium parking lots to the stadium area. The return pickup point is at the bus loop located north of the UI Hospital School on Newton Road.

UI parking areas will be open at 7 a.m. and traffic control will continue for two hours after the game, Green says. Beer trucks, kegs and open bars are not permitted in any UI parking areas. Amplified sound, cooking fires and grills are not permitted in UI parking ramps.

Here's a list of parking places available on university-owned property:

* Free parking for autos is available at Hancher Auditorium (Park Road and North Riverside), and at the University-owned parking lot south of Burlington Street at Madison and Prentiss streets (behind the building housing the Johnson County Jail and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office).

* Automobile parking is available at Finkbine Golf Course on Melrose Avenue and the UI Softball Complex (Mormon Trek Road and U.S. 6). The parking fee is $5. Golf course parking is subject to weather conditions.

* Recreational vehicles may park at the Finkbine commuter parking lot on Hawkins Drive. There is a $10 charge for RV parking.

* Public parking is permitted at the UI Main Library lot on football Saturdays. The charge is 40 cents per hour.

* Public parking is also available at the IMU Parking Ramp and the North Campus Parking Ramp. The charge for those ramps is 60 cents per hour.

* Parking for people with disabilities will be reserved in Hospital Ramp II until 30 minutes before kickoff. The charge for UI ramp parking near the stadium is $5 per vehicle.

* Surface parking lots near Kinnick Stadium have space for 2,000, weather permitting. The charge is $5 per vehicle.

The pedestrian passageway through UI Hospitals and Clinics will be closed to football fans. For safety reasons, the street north of Kinnick Stadium will be closed to vehicles when pre-game pedestrian traffic becomes heavy.