First look at damage on Highway 15 from pipeline explosion

10 months 1 week 6 days ago Wednesday, March 06 2019 Mar 6, 2019 Wednesday, March 06, 2019 1:37:00 PM CST March 06, 2019 in News
By: Daniel Perreault, KOMU 8 Reporter
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AUDRAIN COUNTY - As crews spent a fourth day working to reopen a highway closed after a pipeline explosion north of Mexico early Sunday morning, MoDOT gave KOMU 8 News an exclusive first look at some of the damage.

MoDOT said the heat from the gas created by the burning pipeline boiled the oil out of about 1050 feet of Highway 15. 

Maintenance crews have been trying to reseal the oil onto the road. MoDOT Maintenance Superintendent Ronald Calvin said the frigid temperatures are making the job more difficult.

"We are dealing with 20-25 degrees and normally we do this type of work in much better weather," he said. "We really have to see how well the rock and oil bind together."

Calvin said it is a game of trial and error to find which materials can withstand the cold temperatures.

"Our biggest challenge was finding a type of oil we could use in this type of weather," he said. "The oil we typically used in the summertime is not readily available in the wintertime."

The current situation is not something this MoDOT maintenance crew has dealt with before.

"The other challenege is that we haven't had to deal with this before anywhere in the immediate area, so no one had experience with this type of situation," Calvin said.

After multiple days of trying different formulas, Calvin said he is hopeful Highway 15 will be reopened Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

If that doesn't work, Calvin said engineers have already developed a "plan B."

"If this plan doesn't work, we'll come back with a different treatment," he said. "We are going to do everything we can to get the road opened back up."

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