HEARTLAND FLOOD: Second major levee breach won't affect I-29 evening commute, IDOT says

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa (WOWT) -- Pottawattamie County Emergency Management was advising residents living near the Honey Creek levee to be prepared to leave their homes after a second levee west of the Honey Creek exit on Interstate 29 broke Wednesday afternoon.

Pottawattamie County Emergency Management said around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, that the Honey Creek levee — a major levee that held during flooding in March — has breached and was advising nearby residents to be prepared to leave their homes. (Tara Campbell / WOWT)

During Wednesday morning's commute, drivers were still able to travel through the low-lying stretch of I-29, but just off the Honey Creek exit, there were roads under water.

MAP: Approximate locations of today's breaches

But around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, officials said the Honey Creek levee — a major levee that held during flooding in March — had breached and that residents near the area had been sent emergency messages.

Doug Reed, the county's Emergency Management Director, said the messages advised residents of the area — and anyone who doesn't feel safe there — to leave. He said mandatory evacuations won't be ordered because the affected area is small: about 40 homes.

It's the second breach Wednesday after waters broke through a patched levee just a little further north. 6 News was on-site as crews were working to build that levee up along the Missouri River.

At 3:37 p.m., Iowa Department of Transportation tweeted that I-29 would remain open through the evening commute despite the breach near the Honey Creek exit.

"Conditions could change quickly, so If you're planning to travel on I-29 north of Council Bluffs, check 511ia.org or the 511 app for updates," the tweet said.

A man with the drainage district told 6 News Wednesday morning that “they have lost the battle,” and water had begun to run from the river, through the levee, and onto farmland.

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Water will then be likely headed towards Interstate 29, authorities said.

In a release Wednesday afternoon, county officials urged residents living in the areas south of the Boyer and Missouri River confluence southward to I-680; from the Missouri River to just east of I-29 along 152nd street; and south to Old Mormon Bridge Road to monitor conditions closely Wednesday afternoon and into the evening and be prepared to leave the area should conditions worsen.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.