Flood Detours and Road Closures Not Always Heeded in Fremont County

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SIDNEY, Iowa -- The flooded roads in southwest Iowa have another hazard for people trying to pass through the area. Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said his department is seeing drivers trying to take shortcuts, ignoring "road closed" signs.

“They do not pay attention. They think the road signs are just a warning to them. It’s not really true and they believe in their GPS systems,” said Aistrope. “They would take their GPS systems over a road close signs.

The sheriff said that people are also impatient waiting in the sometimes heavy traffic on Highway 275. The road is part of the way people detour eventually looking for Interstate 29 south of St. Joseph, Missouri. Also big trucks are on the road hauling rock to repair rails and roads. Grain trucks are also hauling grain from the area.

“There’s no point. The best way to go is come down to Highway 34, go to 71 and go south. That is the best way for people in this area to get to Kansas City or to the interstate,” said Aistrope.

The Sheriff said he expects this issue to keep going, as water is actually rising in parts of Fremont County.

“We’re going to do with us all summer, it’s not a quick fix for us,” said Aistrope. “We did it in ’11 and we did it last all year, so please drive safely.”

The sheriff’s department does patrol the evacuated towns. Percival and Bartlett both are still off-limits for residents due to high water in the towns, and covering roads leading to the towns. The water changes as the railroad builds up its track, making a higher dam for the water. The rail workers have been installing culverts to help the water drain.

“One day you can get there, and the next day you can’t,” said Aistrope. “It just depends on how this water has gone and where it’s flowing through that day.”

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