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The Latest: Union Pacific working to repair tracks, bridges

March 20, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Midwest flooding (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Union Pacific says its crews are working around the clock so rail traffic can return to normal in Nebraska and adjacent states hit by flooding from a late-winter storm and snowmelt.

Spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said Wednesday that workers are clearing trees and other debris off the Omaha-based railroad’s tracks and have begun repairing them. She says bridges are also being repaired.

Espinoza says water still covers portions of the tracks between the Kansas City area and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The company is unsure when that line can be reopened. Levees have been breached or overtopped in southwest Iowa.

Texas-based BNSF Railway says it also is confronting flood-related washouts in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

The floodwaters have damaged hundreds of homes and been blamed for three deaths in the Midwest.

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9:15 a.m.

Passenger rail traffic along a popular Missouri route has been suspended and evacuations continue amid flooding along the Missouri River.

Amtrak said Tuesday that it was temporarily halting its Missouri River Runner Service between Kansas City and St. Louis. The company says that because of the flooding, freight traffic has been diverted to tracks Amtrak uses. Buses will transport passengers instead.

In northwest Missouri, two more levees were breached Tuesday and the 220 residents of the town of Craig were ordered to evacuate. Local officials say water also is lapping at the edge of the tiny town of Fortescue, where residents used excavators to create a makeshift levee.

The floodwaters have damaged hundreds of homes and been blamed for three deaths in the Midwest. The flooding has also taken a heavy toll on agriculture, inundating thousands of acres, threatening stockpiled grain and killing livestock.