Highway 2 closure causing commuting nightmare for Nebraska City

LINCOLN, Neb. Months after the March flooding in Nebraska, the closure of main roads in and out of Nebraska City is making the life for many locals a nightmare.

Highway 2 briefly opened in May near Nebraska City but soon after another storm hit the Iowa side. It closed for more repairs and for those living in and outside the city, it’s made commuting to work a full-time job.

The Smiths are no stranger to flooding. They moved their RV to Victorian Acres in Nebraska City last November after flooding on their previous lot in Iowa forced them to move.

“Walking back and forth in the water every day and every morning to go to work was just ridiculous,” said Tammy Smith. “We should have left sooner than we did.”

Now less than a year after flooding forced them to move out of Iowa, it has almost doubled Tammy’s commute time to the job she has had in Glenwood for 40 years.

"To commute to work I've had to go 112 miles,” said Smith. “I really miss Highway 2. It really helped a lot because then my commute was only 45 minutes, now it’s an hour to an hour and a half."

First Lutheran Church is still serving meals Mondays and Wednesdays to people who can't make it home everyday. Those in charge say they can feed anywhere from 20 to 50 people on those nights.

“We’ve got people that cannot get back and forth from Iowa,” said Chris Gress who cooks for the church. “They work here so they need some place to get a real meal.”

A few people at the meal say they have been living in Nebraska City and returning to Iowa on the weekends instead of trying to make the nearly two hour commute that used to be 20 minutes.

"You know we have people who haven't lost their homes they have a home to go to every weekend but they just can’t come every day," said Gress.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has opened up I-29 but Highway 2 likely won’t be done until the end of August.