Officials in Fremont County Iowa are hoping to overcome legal obstacles to trade for land along the new flood levee near Nebraska City that will re-open a road closed by the 2011 flood.
Fremont County officials are hoping to exchange land with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service to open up a roadway at the Missouri River bride at Nebraska City.
Prior to the flood of 2011, Road 185th Avenue went north and Dike Road went south, but both roads were closed by flooding and then by moving the flood levee.
Fremont County Supervisor Cara Marker-Morgan said the county is willing to give the conservation service the closed portions of Dike Road and 185th Avenue in exchange for a strip of land that will allow an intersection for travel north of Highway 2.
She said the road would improve emergency access to three houses in the immediate vicinity and all the residents along the roadway in Fremont County.
“As a county, we need to figure out a way to get a road back there,” Morgan said.
At a meeting in Sidney Tuesday, Wayne Clark of the Benton-Washington Draining District said county officials have been told that federal law does not allow a land swap as proposed, but he is asking the county for further investigation.
He said under the 2005 emergency wetland program laws, the chief officer of the conservation service can waive regulations if it's in the best interest of the federal government.
He said the land swap is in the best interest of the government because they would get three times more land if the county gives up its right-of-way on both sides of the bridge.
Craig Glasgow of the Mule Slough drainage district said the land swap will also open the way for the conservation service to open up chutes for shallow water habitat.
He said the road is also needed to provide access to the Benton-Washington draining pumps.
The county is also hoping Iowa Department of Transportation will raise a portion of Highway 2 to eliminate a pinch-point in the river floodway.
Prior to the 2011 flood, the federal levee narrowed at Nebraska City to connect with the abutments of the old Missouri River Bridge.
The new levee alignment eliminates that pinch point, but a less significant pinch point still exists where the levy bends sharply eastward to connect with Highway 2.
Fremont County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said the levee bends to connect with the highway at the same height of the levee.
He said the county hopes the roadway will be raised to eliminate the new pinch point.