Iowa DOT to do more to warn drivers about I-29 detours

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (WOWT)-- In light of the mess during Tuesday afternoon’s commute along Interstate-29 at Council Bluffs, the Iowa Department of Transportation says they could have done more.

Crews began work to raise the flood-prone portions of the interstate and forced drivers to a detour at Exit 55.

Electronic signs displayed the warning of the closures over the weekend, but that only gave commuters Monday to see it, leaving a lot of drivers surprised. Plus, only the smaller signs were used rather than the large over-head ones.

IOWA DOT says, next time they’ll give drivers more of a warning.

Another contributing factor to the mess was a scramble to get the timing of the traffic lights along the detour route changed to handle the increased volume.

"We gave the city a head's up to change signal timings, but didn't give them a 'hey we need you to do this today', so were able to make some changes yesterday afternoon during the peak hour with Council Bluffs Police directing traffic as those timing changes went into effect,” said Iowa DOT Engineer, Austin Yates.

In response to Tuesday’s backup, Iowa DOT is now detouring people traveling up Interstate-29 from Kansas City over to Interstate-80 before hitting Council Bluffs. The goal is to divert people who are traveling further north away from the local detour at Exit 55.

Drivers are going to be dealing with the detour for about two more weeks. Officials say that’s when work on this portion of the interstate is scheduled to be complete.