It’s getting tough for somebody in eastern Nebraska to say “Kansas City, here I come!” because of Missouri River flooding.
So now what route do I take?
One route that will get you south (eventually) but that Nebraska officials aren’t recommending is U.S. Highway 75. Officials say travelers will encounter construction-related delays near Plattsmouth. One driver who took 75 to Kansas City this weekend said, however, that traffic wasn’t terrible. He still was able to cross the Missouri River at Highway 136 an option that’s not available now.
“You don’t want to go 75” out of Omaha, said Mary Jo Oie, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Roads Department. “Just because it looks closer, it could be a congested mess.”
To avoid that stretch, you would take Interstate 80 west, as if you’re going to Lincoln, then head south on Nebraska Highway 50, which you would pick up near the Chalco area. You would take that south to Syracuse. Just to the north of Syracuse you’d take Highway 2 east and drive over to 75. You then would go south to U.S. Highway 36 in Kansas and then east to St. Joseph, Mo. then south on I-29 to Kansas City.
Or you could go all the way south to Interstate 70 and go east, said Barb Blue of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
If you want to go across Interstate 80 into Iowa and then head to Kansas City, you will have to go about 90 miles out of your way if you follow the suggested route. Iowa Department of Transportation operators this weekend were telling people coming from the Omaha area that they could take eastbound I-80 to U.S. Highway 71 and take that south into Missouri.
You can drive south on U.S. Highway 59, but the road “is not in very good condition,” said spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher. And hotline operators said this weekend that the road is full of potholes on the Missouri side.
“We really prefer that traffic go all the way over on 71 because of the volume of traffic that is choosing to use these roads,” Gray-Fisher said.
From either 59 or 71, you could head south to U.S. Highway 136 and rejoin I-29 near Rock Port, Mo., and head south into Kansas City.
The best routes seem to be a moving target. For the latest information, visit the websites listed with this article. You also can call the Iowa hotline at 866-452-8510, which is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Nebraskans checking on Nebraska road conditions can dial 511 and follow the prompts. The Missouri number is 888-275-6636. Kansas’ number is 866-511-5368.
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