Flooded section of I-29. (DOT photo)

The director of the Iowa Department of Transportation said today the rush to repair western Iowa roadways has cost millions in man hours and materials.

 D.O.T. director Paul Trombino was at the governor’s weekly meeting with reporters to provide an update, and he says the state will seek to get most of the money from the federal government.

Trombino says the costs right now are close to $50-million, and they are all at this point eligible for federal reimbursement.

Crews have been working long hours on a “fast track” system to get the roadways repaired and reopened.

Governor Terry Branstad says that’s because the federal government requires the repairs to be made within 180 days of the flood to be eligible for reimbursement. He says federal officials count from when the flood started, and this flood started in June and the water didn’t go down until September in many places. “So this made it a big challenge,” Branstad says. He says the D.O.T. and all the contractors did a great job despite that challenge. Trombino says the $50-million is the total right up to today.

Trombino says that’s what they know right now from the start of repairs in June, and it includes the repairs on all the roadways. Trombino says there will be some state costs, as on Highway 175 for example, they took this opportunity to add some protections to the roadways in areas as a precaution against future floods.

He says those improvements are considered betterment under the federal highway rules, but Trombino says they felt it was worthwhile for the long-term preservation of the roadway and the bridge to make additional improvements. Three major river crossings were closed by the Missouri River flood waters, with a total of 77 miles shut down by the flooding.

As an example of how fast the repair work was done, the just over three mile section of I-680 was reopened to traffic just 34 days after the waters receded.