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Iowa-Nebraska bridge over Missouri River still too dangerous for repairs

The Iowa 175 bridge over the Missouri River remains in peril due to flooding as state officials continue to monitor and do what they can behind the scenes to limit further damage.

Preliminary inspection work, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation, has revealed a deepening of the river channel around the bridge pier by as much as 42 feet, and serious scour and loss of embankment near the bridge abutment on the Iowa side has occurred. Iowa 175 extends southwest from Ida Grove through Mapleton before turning nearly due west to cross through Onawa and then across the river into Nebraska. It is the predominant river crossing between the Council Bluffs area to the south and Sioux City area to the north.

Although emergency work was done to prevent further loss of the embankment and roadway, Iowa DOT officials report that further deterioration has occurred, preventing additional work and making the situation too dangerous for additional work to be completed near the bridge.

Image has not been found. URL: http://media.iowaindependent.com/Iowa175_aerial_350.jpg The Missouri River level has been dropping as the releases from Gavins Point Dam have decreased, but the land adjacent to the roadway remains inundated with flood waters, leaving the road extended out into the widened river channel like a long boat pier. (Photo: Iowa State Patrol)

Flood waters are currently too deep and fast to allow for additional materials to be placed around the pier, allowing it to become stable and safe enough to once again support traffic. State officials indicate that work will begin as soon as conditions allow.

The Iowa DOT is working with the Burt County Bridge Commission and Nebraska Department of Roads to finalize reconstruction plans. A meeting is also being scheduled with several contractors that are experienced with dredging and hydraulic pumping work to evaluate various concepts for making the needed repairs. Site conditions make this a very unusual and challenging project, according to the Iowa DOT; and working with the private sector will help determine the feasibility of the available concepts.

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