On June 11, the Iowa DOT held a public meeting at the Sidney High School to allow the public to review and ask questions about plans for an overflow bridge project just north of the current Missouri River bridge by Nebraska City.

The project would consist of constructing two 40 foot wide by 1,100 foot long overflow bridges and moving the levee so it is basically straight across Highway 2, rather than a long "U" shape that meets at the highway. All of this work is intended to be completed without stopping traffic between Iowa and Nebraska, and while maintaining levee protection throughout the project. The DOT hopes to have a functional overflow in place by March 1, 2020.

Scott Schram, District Engineer with the Iowa DOT said the U shaped levee was originally created to match the road elevation. Raising the road elevation would allow the levee to be moved back further where it should be, eliminating the U shape and the pinch point that it created.

The entire $30 million dollar project is 8/10 of a mile in length, one quarter mile of actual bridge, and 6/10 mile of raised road on either side of the bridge.

According to Jeremey Vortherms, P.E., Senior Project Manager, higher level planning for this project began back in 2012, after 2011 flooding, based on information received from the Army Corps of Engineers, but the time wasn’t right to complete the project.

The DOT hopes to have a functional overflow in place by March 1, 2020. Schram said bidding for construction and a contract could be completed in July, with construction to start in August 2019, preliminary completion by March 2020 and final completion by November 2020.

The proposed project would take place in four stages, coordinating maintaining traffic, raising road elevation, building the bridges and moving the levee throughout most of the four stages. Both men said even if current ongoing levee breach repairs weren’t completed yet, there was still work that could be done on this project to move it forward, but closing the Percival breach would be an important step for the construction process.

First steps would include constructing a section of levee that would allow widening of pavement for a path up and over the raised roadway. Final steps would likely be removal of the old levee.

The goal of the whole project is to open up the floodway. The often mentioned pinch point between Nebraska and Iowa has been responsible for slowing the flow of high Missouri River waters and backing up of the same. Getting rid of the U shape removes the pinch point, allowing water to flow straight by, as well as under the new bridges.

DOT representatives agree this solves a portion of the problems in that area, but portions of the roadway between Nebraska and Interstate 29 at Percival will still remain lower than they should be, and prone to potential flooding. The DOT is not blind to this issue and hopes to address that, too, in future. This is a huge additional cost, though, plus would require studying to make sure surrounding lands were not adversely affected by the raised roadway.

Area residents and stakeholders are encouraged to contact Scott Suhr of the Iowa DOT with any questions or concerns about the Highway 2 bridge project, at 712-243-3355 or scott.suhr@iowadot.us.

Information about the project can be seen at: http://www.iowdot.gov/pim

Comments about this projects should be submitted by June 25, and may be submitted online at: http://www.bit.ly/iowadot171622703 .

 

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