The travel time for a road trip to Kansas City became a little shorter Saturday when the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) re-opened a stretch of Interstate 29 from the Missouri state line to Exit 32 near Pacific Junction.
Portions of the the 32-mile section of interstate had been closed since June 15 because of flooding from the Missouri River.
Several vehicles were lined up on the interstate at 10 a.m. when IDOT personnel removed barricades and snow fence to formally reopen the roadway.
Exit 32 is in the middle of an interstate construction area where two-way traffic is currently diverted to the southbound lanes of the interstate. Crossover lanes for two-way traffic also exist in the southbound lane near Hamburg for a 2.5-mile stretch.
As part of the interstate’s re-opening, U.S. Highway 34 is again open for travel underneath the I-29 overpass at Exit 32, which is good news for motorists traveling to and from the Plattsmouth Bridge in Nebraska.
Two I-29 exits in southwest Iowa remain closed - Exit 1, Iowa Highway 333 to Hamburg; and Exit 10, U.S. Highway 2 to the Nebraska City Bridge.
Highway 333 has sustained flood damage; and now that the water has receded, the IDOT plans to perform a more thorough assessment of the roadway. Highway 2 sustained substantial damage due to the flooding and will require substantial repairs. The IDOT’s goal is to have the stretch of Highway 2 between I-29 and Nebraska City repaired by the end of the year.
IDOT spokesperson Dena Gray Fisher said state transportation officials are appreciative of the patience motorists have exhibited during the closure of I-29.
“The Iowa DOT appreciates the public’s patience over the last three months and in the future as additional work is underway on other roads affected by the flooding,” Gray Fisher said. “If you encounter a road closed sign, fence, gate or other traffic control device, turn around. Do not move the barricades or enter a closed roadway; it is not only illegal, it is unsafe for travel.”
Additional information about the IDOT’s “fast track” flood recovery efforts is available online at www.iowadot.gov/floods/index.html.
The reopening of I-29 in Mills County is expected to dramatically decrease the number of motorists utilizing Highways 34, 275, 59 and 71 in southwest Iowa as detour routes.