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Iowa 2 reopens

Traffic on flood-ravaged Iowa 2 is now flowing east of Nebraska City.

The primary route for Lincoln residents heading to and from the Kansas City area has reopened, but making the drive will require plenty of patience.

Two days after getting Interstate 29 reopened south of Omaha, the Iowa Department of Transportation opened Iowa 2, the highway that connects Nebraska 2, which runs from Lincoln to Nebraska City, with I-29.

Traffic, however, is expected to back up as work to reopen Iowa 2 required a unique, temporary solution that involves permeable rock laid on top of the existing highway surface, with concrete barriers holding the rock in place.

The rock will allow traffic to move on part of the highway even as floodwaters from the Missouri River continue to flow across the highway in those sections.

On Friday, traffic was limited to only the westbound side of Iowa 2, as water levels were too high in eastbound lanes. Traffic was moving in both directions but was controlled by traffic signals and a pilot car.

Speed limits through sections of Iowa 2 are posted at 25 mph.

The area remains susceptible to flooding, Iowa officials said, noting that the highway may close again or traffic patterns may be adjusted with short notice "to accommodate shifting water levels," according to a news release.

Iowa officials, however, wanted to get a link to Nebraska reopened. The interstate and other major highways sustained significant damage from March flooding and have been closed since, with an original target date for reopening in June.

For several weeks, anyone living on one side of the river and working on the other was limited to bridge crossings at Bellevue to the north and St. Joseph, Missouri, to the south.

The solution for reopening Iowa 2 was devised to serve primarily those local travelers. Others are encouraged to continue using alternate routes.

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The section of I-29 from Glenwood, Iowa, to the Missouri border reopened Wednesday, but with traffic limited in some spots to one lane in each direction.

Other links to Nebraska, including U.S. highways 34, 136 and 159, remain closed west of I-29. And on and off ramps to the interstate are shut at the Hamburg, Percival, Thurman, Tabor and Pacific Junction interchanges in Iowa.

Farther north, crews are 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.

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City editor

City editor for the Lincoln Journal Star.

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