If Missouri road crews can tame “The Beast”, many Nebraska motorists will have access again to Interstate 29.
Missouri Department of Transportation Northwest District spokeswoman Melissa Black says that’s the nickname engineers have given the gaping hole on Route 136 left behind by Missouri River floodwaters.
“Originally, we thought it was about 600 feet long, but now since the water’s gone down a little bit we’ve been able to measure it a little bit more accurately,” says Black. “It is 480 feet long, which is still quite sizeable and about 65 feet deep. And, as you can imagine, that’s a pretty darn big gap in the pavement.”
Missouri River flooding ripped up pavement and left large scour holes in Route 136 on the Missouri side of the river. Three holes have been filled. One remains: The Beast
“This one, being the largest, will take more than 100,000 tons of rock just to fill that back up to the regular pavement level, which is about what it took to fill the other three gaps,” according to Black. “So, you can see, it’s pretty big.”
MoDOT has let a $3.5 million contract to tame The Beast, repair the pavement and restore traffic between southeast Nebraska and northwest Missouri, in particular, access to I-29. Black says the contract calls for a November 28th completion date. Weather has been favorable and other emergency repairs of roadways damaged by flooding have gone quicker than anticipated.
Two other routes give southeast Nebraska motorists access to I-29. MoDOT has contracted to repair Route 159 at Rulo. The Iowa Department of Transportation hopes to repair Highway 2 at Nebraska City by late November.