Rocheport residents continue sandbagging after almost two weeks of work

4 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago Monday, June 03 2019 Jun 3, 2019 Monday, June 03, 2019 5:53:00 PM CDT June 03, 2019 in News
By: Morgan Riddell, KOMU 8 Reporter
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ROCHEPORT - Sandbagging efforts along Katy Trail in Rocheport continues bringing volunteers as flooding continues to close many roads, bridges and trails. 

Volunteers who are sandbagging hit their two-week mark Tuesday. The volunteers said they are unsure how much more work is needed. This depends on continued river levels and the strength of levees for the town.

Volunteers say they have been out every day and the support from outside has been incredible. "Even just two hours, ten minutes.. it helps," said one of the volunteers. 

The sandbags along the river are protecting Rocheport's sewer facility and they worry for the infrastructure of the city if this barrier is compromised. 

On the other side of Rocheport is bridge Spurr 240 that has been flooded with water. The road allows direct access to Highway 40. 

Ryan Hampton's home backs up to the bridge. He said it has cut off the town from New Franklin where his kids go to school. He said he knows of people there than have been displaced still and the bridge closure is also making it hard for residents. 

"We know people who live in New Franklin and work in Boonville and it should take a couple minutes to get there and they have to drive 40 or 45 minutes around," said Hampton.

Water is still covering the middle part of the bridge and road closure signs block the entrances. Some cars and trucks took a risk to pass over the water while some decided to turn around. Howard County Emergency Management said it is still closed and not legally passable. 

According to the KOMU 8 Weather Team, water levels are expected to remain stagnant the next 48 hours and are hoping for levels to start falling this weekend depending on how much rain we get between now and then. 

Morale in the town has remained high as volunteers continue to show up to help the town sandbag. 

"People are trying to be proactive and hope it doesn't get much worse because if it gets to be too much worse it's going to be really devastating for a lot more people than it already is." Hampton said.

McBaine and Huntsdale are also both still facing standing water. Downtown McBaine continues to be closed off and residents are now waiting for the levels to start to fall. 

Two main levees for McBaine were breached. Brady Lichtenberg works for the Missouri Department of Conservation in McBaine. The town has been fighting rising waters as the department's parking lot is submerged and water has seeped into its basement.

Lichtenberg said this flooding is not unusual for the area, but it's worse than most. He said it will take until water levels recede to determine if levees were just over topped or if there are holes in the structures.

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