A section of Interstate 80 in central Iowa could be closed down as flood water is rising in the area between the Van Meter and Adel-DeSoto exits. One lane of the interstate is already closed, according to Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig.
“Right now, we just have the right lane of westbound I-80 shutdown as a precautionary measure,” Ludwig said. The Raccoon River has spilled into fields on both sides of the interstate after Adel recorded 7 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
“As I sit here at the Van Meter exit, high on the hill, you can see (flooding) on both sides of the interstate seems to be getting bigger and bigger,” Ludwig said. “If there’s any bright light in the forecast…there’s not rain in the immediate forecast for around here or in northern Iowa to flow down here.”
At noon today the Raccoon River was within a few feet of reaching the deck of the Interstate 80 bridge spanning the waterway at mile marker 112. The state patrol, the Iowa DOT and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring I-80 for a possible closure. “We are taking the measures with other agencies, in case we need to put a detour in place, we’ve got that and we’re ready,” Ludwig said. “I, for one, don’t hope it goes over the interstate and we have to shut it down.”
The Raccoon River at Van Meter is expected to crest at some point today at more than 24 feet. The river is expected to impact Interstate 80 once it reaches 22.7 feet.
The Raccoon River could also impact travel on Interstate 35 through West Des Moines. Forecasters are predicting a potential record crest on Friday in West Des Moines between 41.5 and 42.5 feet. The record crest was 41.3 in 2008.
Several residential streets were closed this morning due to flooding caused by the heavy rains.