HEARTLAND FLOOD: Stretch of I-29 again shut down by surging water

HONEY CREEK, Iowa (WOWT) -- Rising waters have once again shut down part of Interstate 29. The interstate was closed in both directions Sunday morning between Crescent and one mile south of the Missouri Valley area.

I-29 shut down again due to flooded pavement

IDOT cameras showed the surging Missouri River waters once again overtaking the pavement as IDOT crews worked to shut down the traffic.

Traffic Engineer Austin Yates told 6 News, “We’re closing I-29 both directions between Exit 61 at Crescent and Exit 71 at Loveland. I-680 into North Omaha will remain open and we’re not expecting to have to close 680. Latest river level forecast indicates we could open I-29 on Tuesday evening, but that will probably change.”

The shutdown follows the reopening of the low-lying stretch of 29 last Tuesday.

On Sunday, Yates noted conditions, "splashing quite a bit of water in that northbound right lane and water is still coming up," as IDOT worked to clear traffic and close the overtaken stretch of interstate.

As colder conditions move in, the threat here is taking on new dimensions.

With fall well under way and portions of 29 back underwater, officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation say they need to act fast to keep this situation from getting worse.

Yates said if floodwater freezes over I-29 we could be looking at a long-term closure. Not only that but if water freezes under the road it will likely cause serious damage to the pavement.

For the past several weeks IDOT has been weighing the idea of possibly adding several feet of pavement to elevate the road above flood level or to possibly add some sort of temporary berm.

The problem with each of those options is that it will take some luck to get water off the road long enough.

Yates said, “If the water doesn't drain out of the fields and then it freezes, then we could possibly be back into a situation like we were in March.” He said, “That's what started it in March was frozen ground, lot of rain and melting snow. So hopefully the freeze is enough away that we can get the water back down.”

Officials with IDOT say their job is to keep drivers on the interstates.

I-29 closed