COUNCIL BLUFFS — Gov. Terry Branstad pledged Friday that state agencies will do all they can to help in what he described as the worst flooding on the Missouri River since the early 1950s.
Agencies ranging from the Departments of Transportation to Natural Resources are providing their expertise, as are Iowa Homeland Security and the Emergency Management Division, Branstad said.
The Army Corps of Engineers also is providing help to counties along the river, he added.
Nevertheless, residents should remain vigilant and have a plan in place should the worst occur, said Derek Hill, Homeland Security administrator.
The high level of water probably will remain until August or September, putting that much more pressure on levees, he said.
The river level under the Interstate 480 bridge was at 31 feet Friday afternoon and projected to climb to 32.6 feet by Tuesday, said Council Bluffs spokesman Art Hill.
The river is expected to crest at 35 to 36 feet, which is lower than the 41-foot-high federally built levees.
The levees are being inspected three times daily for any problems, Hill said.
Sandbags have been installed around the city’s wastewater treatment plant to ensure it runs normally, he said, and there are pump stations to remove backlogged water in the city’s creeks.
Branstad praised local officials and volunteers for their efforts.
“Communities are being proactive,” he said.
Portions of Interstate 29 south of Council Bluffs might close soon, Branstad said. I-29 from Crescent to Loveland was closed Thursday night.
To learn more about travel conditions, call 1-866-452-8510. For other flood-related information, call 1-800-447-1985.
Branstad also suggested that, once the river returns to normal, a comprehensive review takes place on how the Corps of Engineers has managed this event.
“Right now, the important thing is to work together,” he said.