Over-the-road drivers are again jockeying with local traffic on the region’s secondary highways, now that Interstate 29 and major Missouri River crossings have closed because of flooding.
It’s not clear how quickly it will reopen.
“A lot will depend on how long the roadway is underwater, and the amount of debris, and if there is any damage,” said Scott Suhr of the Iowa Department of Transportation. “We won’t know until the water recedes. We will update as we know more.”
Iowa roads officials have warned that additional road closures are likely.
As of Wednesday evening, I-29 was closed from:
» Crescent/I-680 interchange to Loveland, a 10-mile closure.
» Glenwood/U.S. 34 exit to the I-229 interchange in Missouri, about 100 miles.
There is also about a 1-mile detour for southbound I-29 traffic in northern Council Bluffs.
I-680 remained open as of Wednesday evening.
Among other roads, U.S. Highway 34 was closed from Bellevue in Nebraska to I-29 in Iowa. It’s one of two Missouri River crossings that are closed. The other is Highway 2.
For Nebraska drivers, there's a sliver of good news: Nebraska Highway 15, south of Schuyler, is slated to reopen Saturday to traffic in both north and south lanes.
The bridge there was heavily damaged during flooding in March. It will reopen to one-lane traffic controlled by temporary traffic signals.
M.E. Collins Contracting will continue work on that stretch until all flood damage has been fixed — expect occasional lane closures and flagging operations as construction continues. Drivers should be cautious and expect delays.
More information at https://hb.511ia.org.
Missouri River to remain high indefinitely
Flooding on the Missouri River will continue for many more weeks, the National Weather Service forecast Wednesday evening.
The weather service made that updated forecast after taking into account Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it would increase releases from Gavins Point Dam to 75,000 cubic feet per second Saturday. That’s more than double the average for this time of year. The corps says releases will remain at least that high into the foreseeable future.
Van DeWald, meteorologist with the weather service, said the river is expected to crest at 31 feet at Omaha Saturday night into Monday, a little more than a foot higher than it had reached Wednesday evening. At Blair, it’s expected to rise about 2 feet higher. Downstream of Omaha, where levees are broken and there’s room for the river to spread out, the increases will be lower.
Much depends upon future rainfall.
“The problem is, June is the second wettest month of the year, typically,” DeWald said. “It’s not like we’re going into a dry season.”