Waterloo police give tour of badly damaged areas

Published: Mar. 19, 2019 at 12:29 PM CDT
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Waterloo Police Chief Tim Donahue surveyed the damage left behind in western Douglas County. Floodwaters have finally gone down enough to see the extent of it.

"To see something basically turn Waterloo into an island was something that nobody has seen, I don't think ever, in this area," Chief Donahue said.

The town was surrounded with no way in or out by car until Tuesday. That was when access on Maple reopened.

Chief Donahue told 6 News the heart of the town was spared by the rising Elkhorn River, but not all areas were so lucky. He took our crews past roadblocks still up to see River Road Drive and 228th Street.

"I've never seen anything like this at all," Chief Donahue said.

Standing water in some spots nearby, plenty of mud, but a road that still looks to be intact. That is until you drive further south past Dodge. A small section of 228th was destroyed.

On West Dodge, extensive damage too. Parts of the road are completely gone or buckled. Standing water and trees are left behind on the normally busy section of road, too.

Now that Maple is back open, and the water has gone down, a huge weight is lifted off the town's shoulders.

"We had officers watching the levee 24 hours," Chief Donahue said. "If that levee would've broken, we would've had 10 feet of water in town. How do you survive that?"

He knew things could have been a lot worse in Waterloo. The police and fire departments worked around the clock.

"How do you do it?" Chief Donahue asked. "I don't know. We did it. The job needed to get done. We got it done."

The chief said the Heartland's generosity is shining, knowing the road to recovery is a lot easier to travel as a team rather than alone.