Published July 08, 2002
OGALLALA, Neb. – Gov. Mike Johanns promised on Monday that state crews would work around the clock to reopen a major transcontinental highway that was cut by weekend flooding.
Interstate 80 was severed when flooding caused by 10 inches of rain on Saturday washed out the approaches to two bridges spanning a ravine. State officials hope to have the highway reopened by the end of this week.
A truck driver was killed when the approaches gave way.
Much of Ogallala escaped major damage, but businesses to the southeast, including restaurants, hotels and a truck stop, were flooded.
Residents of three mobile home parks that were evacuated were allowed back to their homes to retrieve belongings Sunday, but won't be allowed to stay until utilities are restored and homes are inspected, said Pete Peterson, Keith County's emergency management director.
Up to four feet of water flooded about 65 mobile homes, leaving belongings soaked and full of mud.
"I knew the damage was extensive, but it is worse than I anticipated," Johanns said Sunday as he surveyed the scene in the western Nebraska city.