Exit 56 (copy) (copy)

Interstate 29 near Exit 56 in Council Bluffs. The March flooding closed large stretch of I-29 south to Missouri. The Interstate is now reopened. 

The March flooding delivered a catastrophic blow to roads and bridges in Nebraska and Iowa. But these transportation systems are impressively rebounding, thanks to hard work and cooperation.

Two major announcements came this week: Interstate 29 in Iowa is now fully open in Iowa. And vehicles are now back to traveling West Dodge Road west of 228th Street.

Those and other road reopenings in the two states are a huge credit to the contractors and the relevant government agencies — federal, state and local. Consider the incredible scale of state-maintained roads and bridges in Nebraska damaged by the March flooding in the east and the blizzard in the west. At the height of the flooding on March 14, the total closures of Nebraska state roads topped 3,300 miles. The estimated repair cost: $100 million. Plus, a total of 27 bridges were out.

But crews and the state Department of Transportation swung into action and steadily brought roads back into service. By March 17, total state road closures had fallen to 723 miles; by April 2, it was down to 117 miles. Currently, 11 miles remain to be repaired. The state has restored 15 bridges, with 12 more to go.

In Iowa, the March flooding closed about 150 miles of I-29 between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and near St. Joseph, Missouri. Crews have shown enormous dedication in reopening such a large stretch of highway in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend and summer travel season. An incredible amount of work was involved, too, in reopening West Dodge Road after 66 days.

All parties involved in these many restoration projects deserve the public’s applause for their dedication and professionalism.

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