Flooded Highway 61 Closure Frustrates Drivers - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Flooded Highway 61 Closure Frustrates Drivers

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Highway 61 is covered by water just north of Wapello.

Cutting off the most direct route between Muscatine and Burlington.

The detour starts West along Highway 22 in Muscatine, then turns South on 218, and returns to Highway 61 on Highway 78.

It adds an hour of drive time and frustration to people trying to get home.

"Where you headed to? Fort Madison, Burlington. Go right down the road about 5 miles," says Iowa DOT Maintenance worker Gary McAtee, as he helps a driver with directions.

"There's a certain amount of people that get down here, you got to get them going somewhere."

Somewhere was the scenic route Wednesday, as water swept over Highway 61. Providing a better route for animals than people.

"I have two little kids, they're pretty frustrated, we're about a half hour away from our destination, after two days on the road," says Mimi Volkmann.

She is trying to get to her mom's house in Washington, Iowa for the fourth of July. She hit the road block and called her mom, trying to find another way home.

"I think we're going to have to go back up and around on the highway," says Volkmann pointing at a map.

The route took her back the way she came. Unwanted extra time spent driving on an already long drive from New York with kids.

"I bought them candy, I hope that keeps them occupied for a half hour," says Volkmann.

No one knows when the barricades will come down. Once the water clears, inspectors will need to check the road before allowing traffic back through. That means Gary will keep directing drivers, lost or otherwise.

"Easy money!" Shouts one driver. "Gravy train!" answers McAtee.

A friendly guide, navigating people around resurgent wild rivers.

"They're just trying to get somewhere, so it's kinda tough when you don't know where you're at and how to get where you're going," says McAtee.


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