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Branstad, Reynolds praise Iowa DOT’s effort to restore highways following flooding

This news story was published on November 6, 2011.
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DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Director Paul Trombino III joined Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds at the administration’s weekly press briefing today. Director Trombino presented an update on the department’s effort to restore mobility and revitalize the economy in western Iowa following the Missouri River flooding.

Never in the state’s history has there been such profound impact on the state’s highway system in terms of duration, miles of interstate impacted and number of major river crossings closed. Iowa’s interstate and state highways were first impacted on June 1 and the flooding continued into the early part of September. A total of 77 miles of the state’s highway system were closed at the height of the flooding. Many other local roadways were affected as well.

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the Iowa DOT employees and its many contractors, consultants and suppliers for their efforts during the flooding to protect the safety of travelers and following the event to quickly restore traffic,” said Branstad.

Three major Missouri River crossings were closed in Iowa (Interstate 680, Iowa 2 and Iowa 175), and several others closed in neighboring states, causing miles of out-of-distance travel for motorists and local residents.

The Iowa DOT’s bold and innovative “fast-track” flood recovery effort resulted in the rapid reopening of the highways to traffic. Last Wednesday, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds attended the I-680 relinking ceremony in Crescent. Later that evening, Iowa 175 between Onawa, Iowa, and Decatur, Neb., was reopened.

“Iowa’s recovery from the devastating Missouri River flooding still has a long way to go, but the reopening of the highways is a vital and positive step forward for individuals, businesses and communities impacted by this event,” said Reynolds.

The 3.1-mile section of four-lane I-680 was reopened to traffic in just 34 days after the rebuilding project was started. The road had been destroyed by the flooding. At the peak of construction, 300 individuals were working on the project, accumulating a total of 60,000 worker hours. Multiple contractors and subcontractors were involved in this project, working 24 hours a day for the first 10 days, and then 14-16 hours a day throughout the rest of the project.

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