MODOT considers road replacement for Wappapello wash out

WAYNE COUNTY, MO (KAIT) - Just a little over a year ago, flood waters washed away a portion of Route T in Wayne county that runs below the flood spillway at Lake Wappapello.

A temporary road is in place but plans are underway for a permanent solution.

Bob Schneider and his friend Leroy Nicholson use Route T at least twice a week to come fishing below the dam. Schneider says they came down to the washout to take pictures. He says it took a couple of months before they could get back to the catfish.

Schneider, "I mean It was a little bit of inconvenience, but soon as they were able to get it open back up we was up and through here."

Surprisingly there is a lot of traffic on this two-lane. All day long cars and trucks came and went as well as lots of boats and campers. I asked Schneider where everybody was going since this wasn't a main highway.

Schneider said, "It's a secondary artery between Poplar Bluff and Greenville. You can go into the backsides of both towns."

Last Spring lake levels reached an all time high, about two feet over the 1945 flood level and breached a temporary levee built on the spillway. A sign hanging on the spillway wall shows the levels of the 45 and 2002 floods.

David Wyman, the MODOT Area Engineer said the road didn't have a chance to withstand the huge volume of water.

"When the water started washing over that spillway, the looser material was washed on down stream and what your are left with is the heavier rock and solid rock." Wyman says. "It was just fill dirt basically after the 45 flood filling in the holes." he pointed out.

The highway wasn't a highway then, it was an access to the dam for the Corp. MODOT took it over after the flood.

So now the question is. What are they going to do with the miniature Grand Canyon. Is the road going to be re-located back there?

Wyman says the Army Corp of Engineers who operates the lake doesn't want the road close to the spillway again. Nor a bridge either which was another possibility being considered.

Wyman, "If we were to put any improvements in there where the old road was, they (the corp) feel like that's going to hamper the way that emergency spillway works."

Just beyond the current road a road of flags marches up and down the hill toward the floodway. That's where a new road will be built.

Wyman, "Further away from the spillway so it will be downstream from the spillway, adjacent to our temporary bypass that we have."

The road will be sloped a bit less, wider and better set up for flooding.

Wyman, "And it is going to have some box culverts underneath it to allow water to drain through there."

The bids will go out this month and Wyman says hopefully the construction will be completed by the end of this year.

Wyman says he doesn't know what will happen to the washed out part. That's up to the Corp. He has heard rumors of making a trail down and through the washout.

Wyman, "It is an amazing memento or monument of what can happen when mother nature decides to do what she wants."

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