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Interstate closure reroutes traffic, forces heavy traffic into towns like Plattsmouth

Posted at 7:09 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 20:09:13-04

All that re-routed traffic is heading into smaller towns. Some places have already been handling heavy traffic that it hadn't planned for.

If you've driven south on Interstate 29 toward Kansas City in the past few weeks, a road closure cuts you off around southern Bellevue--leading you to a detour on Highway 34. It's going to stay that way for at least another month.

Detours due to flooded and damaged roads have forced drivers into smaller towns, some with only a few lanes to handle traffic. People in places like Plattsmouth say they've seen in an increase in traffic and so have businesses.

"Before, it was really slow over here it was completely dead with the flood and the road being cut off," fast-food restaurant manager David Denton said.

Semi trucks have been seen carrying hundreds and even thousands of lbs. of goods on Plattsmouth's roads.

"As I'm coming home, I see more semi trucks which--when it's windy out--you want to be careful swerving around in the wind," Lucinda Smith said.

Smith has been living in Plattsmouth for about 20 years. She says she's never seen such heavy traffic come through town all because of last month's flood. She says she wonders about the conditions of roads and bridges. While some are worried about congested roads, some businesses are happy to see the extra traffic.

Manager David Denton has lived in Plattsmouth most of his life and the fast food restaurant he helps manages counts on customers passing by on the detour on Highway 75.

"Since the flood cleanup, we've had a tremendous amount of traffic coming through," Denton said. "It was a big difference since it got cleaned up."

For drivers who would be trying to head south on I-29, they're still encouraged to take Highway 75 through towns like Plattsmouth. The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency says a reopening date is set for this summer, but is weather permitting.

A small stretch of I-29 is still closed in Iowa between Crescent and Loveland. Crews on the Interstate are working on repairing the road and shoulders, as well as cleaning flood water and debris.