Mar 21, 2023 - News

Des Moines' most hated highway spot

A gif showing the changes between the West Mixmaster from 1985 to July 2022. Screenshots via Google Earth

We asked our readers a few weeks ago about your most hated highway ramps in the metro — and the answer was overwhelmingly the West Mixmaster.

Why it matters: You described it to us as "stress-inducing," a "big loopty loo" with a "double gauntlet" and a "cluster."

State of play: The West Mixmaster is a partial cloverleaf interchange connecting I-235, I-80 and I-35 near West Des Moines and Clive.

Yes, but: It's 58 years old and traffic has increased dramatically since then, Andy Loonan with the Iowa Department of Transportation tells Axios.

  • Back then, 28,000 daily vehicles passed through. It's now more than doubled, to 75,000 cars a day.

What's happening: The Iowa DOT wants to modernize the West Mixmaster by removing the cloverleaf ramps to construct flyover ramps instead, similar to the nearby Urban Loop.

  • Flyover ramps give vehicles more space to get on and off the interstate, Loonan says.
  • The first loop planned for demolition is I-235 west to I-35 south, which should give some immediate congestion relief.
  • "We know it needs to be done," Loonan says.

What's next: DOT is writing a safety report to send to the Federal Highway Administration to get approval for the $300 million project.

  • The goal is to have the first loop gone by 2027.

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