HEARTLAND FLOOD: Flood traffic putting a strain on important Waterloo road

WATERLOO, Neb. (WOWT) - Traveling West Dodge comes with a choice, and too many drivers are choosing straight.

West Dodge Rd. at the Elkhorn River photographed by Tom Peterson.

Down the road, the expressway is closed for flood repairs, and the detour is putting a stress on a Waterloo street.

Blondo is a road well traveled, and that's created craters and made it a bouncy, unofficial detour between West Dodge and Highway 275.

"Well, they got the highway closed so I came this way and don't really know which way to go now," one driver said.

Many are taking a section of Blondo that's the responsibility of Waterloo, but the Douglas County engineer is filling in for the village.

"We don't have the equipment to try and maintain this levy and we've already spent thousands of dollars in putting calcium on top of it to keep the dust down," Waterloo Fire Chief Travis Harlow said.

Blondo runs on top of the one levy that protected Waterloo, and heavy vehicles traveling the road are beating it down.

About three weeks ago, Waterloo passed an ordinance allowing its small police force to write citations for truckers who ignore the sign telling them not to travel on the road. The citation gives a $149 fine and comes with court costs.

Police, deputies and carrier enforcement troopers have ticketed several truckers.

"Some are saying their GPS took them here, some are saying they just don't notice the signs, some just said they needed to get to a destination faster," Sgt. Tom Lamb with Waterloo Police said.

Recycled asphalt lessens the blows on suspensions, but the road on top of the levy isn't designed for the flood traffic that's crossing over it.

The state's district engineer said that West Maple is the official detour, not Blondo.

He anticipates flood-damaged West Dodge will reopen in June.