Like any other traveler on Interstate 29 this summer, I was pretty put out by the major detours along the federal highway this week.
Since the May floods, major stretches of I-29 have been closed, so all traffic gets tossed over to the state and county roads of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. To get to Nebraska City, Neb., from Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, I had to get off I-29 at St. Joseph, Mo., and take State Highway 75 through Nebraska.
Now, the flood waters are receding a bit, but what’s left behind are roads that are ruined and impassable. The Des Moines Register recently did a good wrap-up of the situation, calling it the “worst-ever highway damage in state history.” And an Omaha TV station, KETV, has some good video of the beat-up roads.
I did a quick detour coming back to Kansas City on Wednesday. I thought I could get to I-29 from Brownsville, Neb., only to be stopped by this bridge closure. I climbed over the barriers and saw the mighty Mo leaving behind downed trees along with the banged-up roads in its powerful path.
Meanwhile, I can certainly understand the anger coming from local communities and farmers. Richard Oswald, a Missouri farmer whose land has been underwater for three months, has reported on the summer of his discontent at the blog Daily Yonder.
And as finger-pointing continues, Prairie Fire, a monthly newspaper based in Lincoln, Neb., printed a study that didn’t find blame, but examined the causes.
All this was to eventually get up to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., where we had a big time in this pop-up city on the plains.
Clay Masters and I met so many people – and signed up 60 new members of the Harvest Network on Tuesday. And we had lots of help from the folks at Nebraska Educational Telecommunications – a big thank you to NET’s Nancy Finken and Dennis Kellogg for providing lots of great swag and support.