Interstate 29 reopened to traffic between Omaha and Kansas City on Wednesday, but where you can get on and off of the freeway is limited.
The section of I-29 from Glenwood, Iowa, to the Missouri border, an area ravaged by Missouri River floodwaters last month, reopened Wednesday, although traffic is limited in some spots to one lane in each direction.
Officials said some traveler services at the Nebraska City exit were to reopen Wednesday, but sections of the highway link between I-29 and Nebraska City remain underwater.
Scott Suhr, transportation planner for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said Iowa officials had hoped to open the Nebraska-to-Interstate 29 link on Wednesday, but were thwarted by rising water levels associated with recent heavy rains.
When they do reopen Iowa 2, the highway that connects Nebraska 2, which runs from Lincoln to Nebraska City, to I-29, traffic will likely be limited to one lane in each direction and will travel over rock aggregate added on top of the existing highway surface and bordered by retaining walls holding back water on both sides of the road. Speeds in those stretches will be reduced to 25 mph.
"We're asking travelers to continue to treat this to a construction zone," Suhr said.
Another link to Nebraska, U.S. 34, remains closed west of I-29. And on and off ramps to the interstate remain closed at the Hamburg, Percival, Thurman, Tabor and Pacific Junction interchanges in Iowa.
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The interstate and other major highways sustained major damage from March flooding and have been closed since, with an original target date for reopening in June.
Farther north, crews are still working to reopen a closed section of I-29 between the I-680 interchanges at Crescent and Loveland. The goal is to get traffic flowing there by Memorial Day weekend.
The cost of the repairs on I-29 has not yet been determined, officials said. But it will be in the millions.
“The damage is greater than what we experienced in 2011,” Suhr said.
The stretches of I-29 closed between Kansas City and Sioux City have significantly increased traffic on two-lane roads, including U.S. 75 in Nebraska, heightening safety concerns in towns like Auburn.
With Iowa 2 still closed, NASCAR fans from Nebraska will be seeking alternate routes to attend races at Kansas Speedway this weekend.