Bluff work on Highway 63 is about half way done, but MoDOT leaders say this could have an impact on future projects. About a month ago, a rock slide shut down one lane on Highway 63 near South Westbrook Drive just north of the Boone and Callaway county line. MoDOT is paying a construction crew $600,000 to clean up the bluff.
MoDOT officials tell ABC 17 News the money is coming out of future road re-surfacing and patching projects. They say the only way they can come up with money for emergency projects like this one is to take it out of future projects.
Geologists told MoDOT there were a few areas on this bluff that were extremely unstable. Anytime it rains, they could expect the water to get in the rocks and cause a rockslide. MoDOT officials tell us they needed to make sure that won't happen anymore.
“What we call benching the rock, creating steps in the rock, to get rid of the unstable rock and what ends up in the place will be stable,” MoDOTs Terry Imhoff explains.
Within a week of the most recent rockslide, MoDOT officials recognized the problem and hired a private company to start the construction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. For years MoDOT has said before they aren't getting enough funding for projects from the federal or state government. Engineers say when they do get money; it all gets dedicated to specific projects.
But when an emergency project like this comes up, some of those projects will be pushed back or will cause it to be only partially completed. They didn't tell us what exact projects would be affected. MoDOT officials tell us the bluff work is expected to be on target for cost. They say as long as that happens, they won't have to affect any projects down the line. But they do have to be careful to not damage the existing road even more.
“For work of this nature, it's pretty minor damage, it will be repaired before the projects complete,” Imhoff says.
MoDOT leaders tell us so far the project is running smoothly and barring any setbacks are still scheduled to be finished by May 3rd.