JEFFERSON CITY - Rain, runoff and reservoir releases have contributed to flooding along the Missouri River. The Missouri Department of Transportation is partnering with Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to provide road closures and detour information to travelers who may be heading across the nation's heartland this Fourth of July.
"We have new tools to help motorists find the best route to deal with flooding and get to their destination safely and as quickly as possible," said Beth Wright, MoDOT's State Maintenance Engineer. "A page dedicated to flooding information is now available on MoDOT's website, as well as a global closure and detour map encompassing all four states."
In addition to collaboration with other states along the Missouri River basin, MoDOT has been preparing for rising waters in partnership with many local, county, state and federal agencies. All are continually monitoring the situation and staying in close contact. Sand bags and barriers have been moved to the Missouri River corridor. Some were filled by inmates inside the walls of Department of Correction facilities. National guardsmen, state troopers, MoDOT employees and many others are ready to close roads, set up detours and put up barriers and signs as needed.
Currently Interstate 29 remains closed in the northwestern corner of Missouri at the Route 136 interchange at Rockport, Mo. Downstream from there, current predictions indicate the river will crest later this week on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday at levels below the records set in 1993, but above flood stage in some areas. However with additional rainfall and levee breaches those predictions change regularly. Information on predictions can be found at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website at www.crh.noaa.gov/mbrfc/ and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' website at www.nwk.usace.army.mil/index.cfm.
MoDOT's flooding web page, www.modot.org/flooding, provides information on the latest road closures with a link to the Traveler Information Map and detour information. Visitors can also get information about how to prepare and travel safely around flooded areas.
Do not attempt to drive or walk through a water-covered roadway. When driving in flood-susceptible areas, keep in mind that:
•Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
•Two feet of floodwater can float your car.
•Water moving at 2 mph is capable of sweeping a car off a road or bridge.
Those who encounter rapidly rising waters should turn around and find another route. If a route is blocked by barricades, find another route. Barricades are in place to protect travelers from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.
•The road may be washed out below the water surface.
•A vehicle may stall or get stuck in the water, and then get pushed off the road. Once off the road, vehicles often start to roll, making escape difficult or impossible.
•Many flood-related deaths in the United States are the result of an attempt to move a stalled vehicle.
For more information, visit http://www.modot.org/.