Iowa DOT Reopens Southbound I-29 Section; Keeping Northbound I-29 Closed
Southbound Interstate 29 from Crescent to Council Bluffs has reopened to motorists, but could quickly close again due to more flooding, the Iowa Department of Transportation said Tuesday.
According to the Iowa DOT, Northbound I-29 from exit 71 near Loveland to exit 55 (N. 25 St. in Council Bluffs) is still closed, and detours from Interstate 80 and Interstate 680 are still in place. A closure for I-680 from the Missouri River to the I-29 interchange near Crescent is also still in effect.
More rain is in the forecast and transportation officials say if flooding continues in the area, they may need to close the southbound section of I-29 again. They’re keeping the northbound lanes from near Loveland to Council Bluffs closed, due to water covering a highway ramp. Iowa DOT Traffic Operations Engineer Austin Yates said congestion in Crescent is also a concern.
“If we have I-29 North open out of Council Bluffs, we’re going to get a huge flow of traffic coming up from the people who are not aware of I-29 North being closed north of 680,” Yates said, “And it’s going to push interstate traffic through the city of Crescent and onto the Old Lincoln Highway.”
There is a chance of severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch near Council Bluffs Tuesday night. Yates said the DOT is closely watching the weather to see how it may affect the roads. Wind can move floodwaters around, he said.
“As far as road impacts to this area, the worst case scenario would be strong north winds, because the water is deeper on the north side,” Yates said. “So if we get a north wind, that will push more water over the roads.”
The Iowa DOT is continuing to monitor a section of I-680 from the Missouri River to I-29.
Yates said the DOT expects there to be minor damage to road shoulders from this year’s third round of Missouri River flooding for the area.
Last week, the Missouri River breached three protective structures in Pottawattamie County, including a levee. Yates said even if those structures did not breach, the roads would still have water over them. But, he said the breaches "may have accelerated the flooding impact" of floodwaters to roadways, but didn't worsen the impact.
Updated at 6:00 p.m. Sept. 25.