Interstate 29 has been closed for almost a month and many students have felt the effect, especially those who traveled north to reach home over spring break.
I-29 closed at the mile 57 marker in Missouri two weeks before Northwest’s spring break began. The closure extends from the mile 57 marker to Highway 34 in Iowa, the closures due to roadway damage, large amounts of debris and excessive amounts of flooding and submerged roadways.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Officer Jacob Angel said the interstate has not experienced any damage in Missouri.
“Actually, it is not even damage to Interstate 29 in Missouri,” Angel said. “Missouri we just experienced some debris on the roadway, and that has been cleared off. It is damage further into Iowa and Nebraska.”
Angel also said the diversion from I-29 was mostly due to convenience.
“The reason we are diverting it in Missouri is just because it is a location that just makes sense, for the easy flow of traffic to keep track of flowing north,” Angel said. “It is just a detour that makes the most sense, so we are leaving that in place for now.”
Angel said he does not know of any plans to reopen I-29.
“As far as reopening, I have not heard a firm timeline on when that is going to be. I know the repairs are up north, I do not know how long those are going to take,” Angel said.
The Iowa Department of Transportation did not offer a statement, only recommending that those seeking information visit their website for more information.
According to a news report made by KMTV 3, Omaha’s Metropolitan Area Planning Agency said IDOT expects that I-29 will not be fully open in Iowa to the Missouri border for months.
“IDOT says it will take until June to reopen I-29 from Highway 34 to the Missouri border. There is significant damage north of Percival,” according to MAPA.
This situation puts strain on many students living in Iowa, Nebraska and farther north. Junior Zach Stein said he was displeased but understanding of the continued closure.
“It makes my route longer,” Stein said. “It is frustrating and annoying, but I understand why it is still closed.”
Junior Malinda Jarman said she was unhappy with the extra time needed to reach her religious retreat.
“A group of us were traveling to do the retreat in Nebraska,” Jarman said. “We had to take a three hour detour to get to our destination. It is normally a one hour trip, so that took six hours out of my weekend rather than two.”
Jarman also said she found the possibility of the highway remaining closed for months to come unfair to those living north of Missouri.
“I think that is really concerning, especially for people who will be moving out in a couple of weeks here. I think that will make finals a lot more stressful,” Jarman said.