IDOT Watching I-80 For Flooding

Sep 26, 2016

Despite the flooding of several rivers in eastern Iowa, all of Iowa’s interstate highways are open. So far only secondary roads have flooded, but that may change later this week.

As water flows down river, the Iowa Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on Interstate 80. This highway crosses Iowa, and the country, east-to-west.

"We won't know until probably first thing Wednesday morning," says Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino. "The water tends to move into the ditches along the sides of the routes and then will creep into the roadway...The water that moves up and then tends to get into the shoulder and then potentially get into the lane."

It appears that I-380 will remain open, even though this highway cuts through four of the counties that have been issued an emergency disaster proclamation.

So far Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has formally issued disaster proclamations for 17 counties in northcentral and eastern Iowa.

On Friday the emergency proclamation was delivered for Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Chickasaw, Delaware, Floyd, Franklin, Linn and Wright counties. Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Mitchell and Worth were added to that list on Monday. 

Branstad says the state has learned how to better handle severe flooding since the historic floods of 2008, which affected more than 40,000 people. 

“Communities are much better prepared,” says Branstad. “We have much better monitoring. The flood center in Iowa City has monitoring of the water levels along the rivers and streams in Iowa. That information is very helpful in planning.”

Residents of about 5,000 homes in Cedar Rapids have been asked to evacuate. The governor has yet to ask for a presidential disaster proclamation, but says he will likely make the request.