HEARTLAND FLOOD: Plans in motion for second bridge on Highway 2, near Iowa-Nebraska border

NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. (WOWT) -- In an effort to prevent future flooding, Iowa Department of Transportation is planning to build a second bridge along Highway 2 in eastern Iowa.

On Wednesday, IDOT engineers were checking out a damaged area of Highway 2, just east of the Missouri River Bridge outside of Nebraska City — a part of the highway they hadn't been able to access since the second round of flooding this spring.

“This is our first time getting down here, and it’s a bit surprising to see where the damage is — this, as compared to the first flooding in March," IDOT engineer Austin Yates said.

The engineers were scoping out the area Wednesday as IDOT works out plans to build a second bridge to allow the nearby levee to get straightened out.

"Due to the River Bridge embankment, the (U.S. Army) Corp of Engineers had to fashion U-shapes in the levee system for the river bridge embankment," Yates said. "Our original plan was going to pick up there and build a new overflow structure about 16 feet higher than the current on Highway 2."

Yates said straightening that out will help the water flow and help prevent future flooding to the north.

With damage to Highway 2 more extensive than expected, the engineers now have to figure out the timeline for the fixing it, while also considering the construction of the new bridge.

“We kind of have two different things going right now," Yates said. "We have the current problems your seeing behind us and then what we can do later on to avoid future problems.”

In nearby Nebraska City, business owners are wishing a second bridge had been built years ago.

“Why they didn’t, I don’t know, and it’s hurt a lot of people,” said Pat Martin, the owner of Martin's Jewelry in Nebraska City.

Martin and her husband have owned the store for 38 years; they know the importance of people from Iowa and Missouri being able to access Nebraska City.

“Nobody can get here, and the whole town’s feeling it," she said. "Anyone you talk to, the restaurants — anybody.”

Yates said they can't begin work to repair the damaged highway until the water levels go down.

Yates said the bid for the contract on the second bridge is expected to go out later this summer.