Floodwaters from the Missouri River have been receding since the Army Corps of Engineers began reducing upstream releases. Still, water remains on portions of Interstate 29 in southern Iowa and over roads from Nebraska connecting to it, primarily Highway 2 from Nebraska City.
Bob Younie, Maintenance Engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation, understands motorists are anxious to drive I-29 again in southern Iowa again.
“We’re going to do everything we can, everything that’s reasonable within our power to make sure that happens,” Younie says. “I’d like to think that we could make that happen this year, but that’s not a promise.”
Younie says everything depends on when the floodwaters recede enough to make an accurate assessment on damage.
“Believe, it’s very frustrating for the owner of a transportation system not to know what we need to do to get the system back in order,” Younie says.
I-29 from the Missouri state line to US 34 has been closed since floodwaters breeched the levee near Hamburg, Iowa June 30th. That breach, according to Younie, drove water underneath I-29. It closed Highway 2 from Nebraska City to I-29 as well as Highway 136 at Brownville and Highway 159 at Rulo, two other routes in southeastern Nebraska to I-29. It cut off the common route Nebraska drivers used to travel east into Iowa and south to St. Joseph and Kansas City. I-29 north of Council Bluffs has been closed by the flooding as well, but other routes are more readily available that make its closure less inconvenient.
Younie says the state will look to return traffic to I-29 prior to it being completely restored to pre-flood conditions. He says the top priority is to re-open the interstate to traffic, even if it’s restricted traffic. Younie says full repair of the interstate and the connecting routes would be a secondary priority.
For Iowa flooded roads and detour routes from Iowa DOT click here.
For 2011 Flood Information from Nebraska Department of Roads click here.
Safe Travel USA website http://www.safetravelusa.com/ for road information anywhere in the country.