Iowa roads officials on Friday reopened a 16-mile stretch of Interstate 29, a move that will cut Omaha drive times in half for many western Iowans.
The stretch of I-29 from Interstate 680 — the Loveland, Iowa, interchange — to Council Bluffs had been closed since June 9 because of Missouri River flooding.
Iowans who regularly use I-29 and I-680 into Omaha have spent the summer driving significantly longer distances and times.
Russell McHugh and his wife, Tracy, saw their commute times double between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and Omaha. More than half of the workers who live in Missouri Valley work in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Now they and other Iowans coming from the north can take I-29 all the way into Omaha.
He and his wife are eager to see their commute time return to normal, and they plan to take I-29 to work on Monday.
“That would be nice,” he said.
Much of I-680 is still closed, and officials expect repairs to take much of the rest of the year. Interstate 29 remains closed south of Pacific Junction and almost to St. Joseph, Mo.
Also on Friday, Iowa transportation officials provided an update about the Iowa Highway 175 bridge east of Decatur, Neb.
The department said it has identified a hole that must be fixed before the bridge can reopen. It said the state will make “every effort” to restore that bridge by year's end.
For more information about road closures you can go to IowaDOT.gov/floods.
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