Drivers urged to plan aheadClosed roadways not expected to reopen over weekend
Drivers should plan ahead if they are traveling for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Mark Bortle, safety engineer at the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) said drivers would save themselves a lot of frustration and time if they planned ahead.
“We recommend folks go to the 511ia.org Web site to look for information about construction and flooding,” Bortle said, “definitely, if they’re traveling in southeast and central Iowa, because there are a lot of roads closed due to flooding.”
People can also dial 511 on their phone for information about closed roads and construction, Bortle said.
According to the 511ia.org Web site, the roads that are closed in the DOT’s District 5, which is the southeastern district and includes Washington County, are: IA 92 between county road X17 and IA 70; US 61 between county road H16 and IA 92 (near Wapello), and county road G48 one mile south of the Grandview area; IA 22 between I 38 (Muscatine) and I-280 (Buffalo); and US 136 (near Keokuk) by US 61. All of these roads are closed due to flooding.
Other things drivers should expect while traveling this weekend are traffic delays, according to a press release from the DOT. Some suggestions the DOT gives for drivers when traveling include: slowing down, staying alert, and paying attention to the traffic signs, whether it’s for road construction or closed roads.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said there is concern about Highway 22 by the Iowa River. Deputies have been out looking at the road periodically to see how high the water was.
“The water is creeping up near the road,” Dunbar said. “The DOT was up there yesterday and they have barricades ready to go just in case.”
As of this morning Bortle said he hadn’t heard of any plans to close more roads in southeastern Iowa.
Bortle doesn’t know when the closed roads would reopen.
“That all depends on Mother Nature and whether or not we get more rain,” Bortle said.
Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius urges drivers not to go around the barricades that have been set up on the closed roads.
“We know people want to use those roads, but until it’s safe to do so they’ll remain closed,” Thorius said.
Thorius knows the closed roads are affecting how people get from one place to another but asks for patience from the public.
“We’ll get to them as soon as we can,” he said.