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I-29 damaged by Mo. River flood (updated 4:54-p.m.)


August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Missouri River has yet to recede across Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa, and the full extent of the damage is uncertain, but one thing is known: the road is in worse shape than officials had hoped. Bob Younie, head of maintenance for the Iowa Department of Transportation said in a briefing Thursday, that an 11-foot deep hole has been scoured beneath I-29 where it goes up an embankment to an overpass, near Hamburg. The hole, he says, is getting bigger. Younie called the situation a “Setback…in the recovery from the flooding.”

That section of interstate he described was closed in June because of the Missouri River flooding. There are four Interstate bridges in that area. Younie said the worst case scenario would be for all four bridges to get washed out by flooding, but so far that, hasn’t happened. He said the best case scenario, which is no longer possible, would have been if the bridges and their approaches would escape without major damage.

Younies says so far, one bridge approach has seen significant scouring, and a parallel bridge is threatened by scouring. The only way to know for sure how much damage the bridges and roadway have sustained, is after the water recedes, and an assessment gets underway. The water may linger in the area for at least another month, but even that’s not a given.

Here’s the DOT Press Release issued today (Friday), at 3:41-pm

AMES, Iowa – Aug. 12, 2011 - The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is
reporting that the Missouri River flooding has undermined the south bridge
approaches of dual Interstate 29 bridges at mile post 1.4 in Fremont County and is
threatening the bridges. The seriousness of the damage will undoubtedly prolong
flood recovery efforts aimed at eventual reopening of the interstate when the waters

The dual set of bridges were constructed in 1972, are 40 feet wide and 179 feet
long, and located in the northbound and southbound lanes of I-29. The bridges take
I-29 traffic over Drainage Ditch Number 6.

The full extent of the damage to the bridges, roadway approaches and embankment are
not known at this time due to the high-velocity flood waters that are still rushing
under the bridge. But there is damage readily apparent at the site, including
collapsing of the pavement, loss of material and scouring at least 11 feet deep. 

Mitigation efforts are underway to attempt to reduce further loss of the soil under
the bridge approach pavement. But the efforts have had little success as the rushing
flood waters continue to wash away the large rock placed at the site. 

It is too soon to determine what corrective actions will be necessary, but stability
and safety of the structure is threatened primarily due to the extent of the scour.
The piling that support the bridge are 35 feet long and have been partially exposed
(no longer embedded in the river bottom) due to the scouring action of the flood

Due to an earlier levee breach, flood waters from the Missouri River are flowing
inland, affecting I-29 and area tributaries and streams. 

The Iowa DOT will continue to provide the public with regular updates on the damages
caused by the flooding, as well as recovery efforts when the waters begin to recede
later this month. 

This is an unsafe area for the public to enter due to the possibility of undermined

Due to these types of safety hazards, never enter a closed roadway, even after the
flood waters recede.

7AM Newscast 08-12-2011

News, Podcasts

August 12th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Stong winds barrel through Atlantic this morning


August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Winds gusting up to 53mph blew through Atlantic this morning, causing minor damage. The NWS in Des Moines reports a 53mph gust was recorded at the Atlantic Airport, at 4:25-a.m. Sustained winds around 40-mph were recorded through 5:05-a.m. Damage included tree down near 5th & Linn, a community church billboard on N. Olive Street destroyed, and scattered other incidents., including a large piece of drywall flying across 7th Street, across from a construction site at IWCC (IA Western Community College) at 4:25-a.m.

DNR gives direction for flood-damaged grain

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State environmental and agricultural officials are beginning to provide guidance to farmers who may have grain damaged by floodwaters along the Missouri River. Officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture say the floodwaters came up slow enough that most farmers and businesses had time to move their grain. But they say grain that was left behind likely won’t be suitable for animal feed or human consumption. They say it can mold rapidly and contain toxins that are unsafe for livestock and wildlife.

Officials say owners must test the grain and submit a plan to the Iowa Department of Agriculture if they wish to salvage it. Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials say few options exist for disposing of the grain because birds are especially sensitive to toxins in the grain.

Audit: Many Iowa schools not meeting program goals


August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa state audit says many school districts have failed to reach the state goal of smaller classes and higher academic achievement. The audit covered fiscal years 2006-2010 of the state’s Early Intervention Block Program, which has spent more than $146 million over that period. The class goal is 17 students for kindergarten through third grade.

The audit report, which was released Thursday, says some districts didn’t have paperwork to verify they had provided help for struggling students. Iowa Department of Education officials say that the class-size goal was merely that: a goal. The officials say the program gives districts some discretion on spending.

Atlantic man arrested for criminal mischief


August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of Criminal Mischief in the 5th Degree. Atlantic Police said Thursday, 24-year old Justin Knutsen was brought to the Cass County Jail and held, pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Drug arrests in Red Oak


August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday, two Red Oak residents were arrested this week, on drug charges. 25-year old Robert Beals, of Red Oak, was taken into custody Tuesday, and charged with Felony Possession of Marijuana, 4th offense, and, a valid warrant out of Montgomery County. Beals was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond.

And, a registered child care provider in Red Oak was arrested Wednesday, following a search warrant executed at her residence on Highland Avenue. 47-year old Candace Johnson was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was released on a citation, and ordered to appear later in magistrate court.

Harkin Announces Over $750,000 to Repair Damaged Railroads in Iowa


August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today (Thursday) announced that the state will receive $773,353 in grants for the repair and rehabilitation of flood damaged railroad infrastructure.  The funds come from the Iowa Department of Transportation through the Flood Damage Restoration for the Iowa River Railroad Program. Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds transportation initiatives.

The railroad repairs include debris removal, track regulation, bridge reconstruction, aligning and surfacing caused by flood damage. The funds will be used to reimburse short line and regional rails in the following counties:  Adair, Cass, Dallas, Des Moines, Hardin, Iowa, Jasper, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Pottawattamie, and Poweshiek.

“Three years ago, devastating floods hit Iowa causing destruction across our state, including severe damage to our railway system,” said Harkin.  “These railroads are crucial to the safe and efficient movement of goods between Iowa communities and to places outside of our state, as well as critical to growing our economy.”

Lane restrictions on Iowa 25 in Guthrie County begin Aug. 22nd


August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CRESTON, Iowa – Aug. 11, 2011 – Road construction work will reduce Iowa 25 to one lane between Guthrie County Road F-65 near Casey and Iowa 44 in Guthrie Center beginning Monday, Aug. 22nd, weather permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Creston construction office.

A 16-foot lane width restriction will be in place in the open lane. Flaggers and a pilot car will be used to control traffic during the closure. The roadway will return to normal traffic patterns when workers are not present. This project is expected to be completed by Oct. 3rd.

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations
are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

(IA-DOT News Release)

2011 Iowa corn crop could equal record set in 2009

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Federal authorities are forecasting a 2011 Iowa corn harvest of 2.43 billion bushels, a figure that would match the Iowa record set in 2009. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the estimate is based on Aug. 1 conditions. Last year, 2.15 billion bushels were harvested in Iowa. The area expected to be harvested for grain is up to 13.75 million acres, compared with 13.05 million acres in 2010. The expected yield for 2011 is 177 bushels an acre. That’s 12 bushels higher than last year’s production but 5 bushels under the record set in 2009.