Trail driving to avoid flood

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - Missouri state troopers had to carefully watch a closure of Highway 94 near Portland earlier this week due to flooding.

"Historically, troopers who work that area are aware people drive around the barricades," Sergeant Scott White with MSHP said. When drivers go around the barriers, they often use the nearby Katy Trail as a temporary highway. 

Highway 94 was closed Monday through Wednesday morning. While brief, the closure was very eventful.

Troopers said they pulled over five to six people for driving on the Katy Trail. A few tickets were handed out, but only to drivers also at fault for a secondary violation. 

"Well, it's a state park," White said. "It's made for bicycle or pedestrian traffic, it's not made for vehicles and it's a violation."

Troopers did not post signs at the closure, instead directing people to the closure map on the Missouri Department of Transportation's website.

People in Portland said the troopers might be spending too much time worrying about this closure.

"From what I'm hearing, it sounds like they're sitting down there a lot this year and it seems like they could be doing other things," said Shannon Holzhauser, who owns a bar in Portland.

Holzhauser said closures on Highway 94 are nothing new.

"That spot floods almost every single year," Holzhauser said. "Multiple times."

She can pinpoint one spot where the road dips down closer to the water that has continually given her community problems. 

"It goes down, and it slants, and it has a big corner. It's the first spot that 94 floods every year," Holzhauser said. 

She said getting around the construction can be a real inconvenience.

"I don't want to go on a gravel road," Holzhauser said. "And I hate driving Route O. It's dangerous."

The only solution in her mind to end these interactions with state troopers and bring an end to the flooding is to raise the highway.

"They need to raise that one section right there of the road. It's slanted and it's low," Holzhauser said.

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