BOONE COUNTY, Mo. - ***UPDATE FRIDAY 6:12 P.M.***
For the second time in three weeks, a northbound lane of Highway 63 in southern Boone County is closed because of rock slides. MoDOT officials tell ABC 17 News this time the lane might be closed for a month.
The rock slide happened late Thursday night just north of the Boone and Callaway county lines. It's the same bluff that shut down a lane for several days in 2010. We told you three weeks ago, lanes were shut down just a couple of miles away because of another rock slide.
The plan MoDOT has right now is to blast the bluffs away in order to push the bluffs back from the road. MoDOT leaders tell us there are a few spots ready to give way so they're keeping a lane closed all next week. After that, it will be closed only when work is being done.
MoDOT engineers tell us the problem is there is a lot of moisture coming through cracks in the rocks right now from the recent snows. They say anytime that happens, the potential for the bluffs to give way increases. This is the same bluff that gave way three years ago and less than two miles from where the rock slide from earlier this month happened.
"The other location was just an isolated situation which we're monitoring constantly also, but in this area here, we've had it happen in the past too so, yes, we're here to take care of it," MoDOT engineer Mike Schupp explains.
Schupp says MoDOT will be getting a private contractor to fix the problem. He's not sure how much it's going to cost. He says blasting the bluff back could take up to a month to complete. Schupp believes now is the time to do this because there are some spots on the bluff that are ready to give way. MoDOT will keep the lane closed in case one of those areas fall.
"Obviously, if the bluff was 100 feet off the road we wouldn't be having this discussion because they'd fall down and nobody would ever know it, but being close to the road, sometimes rocks fall out in the road that's why we're addressing it," Schupp says.
Schupp says MoDOT will open up the bidding process on Monday for contractors to do the work. MoDOT already has cones blocking one lane and plan on adding message signs about the project.
***UPDATE FRIDAY 2:30 P.M.***
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Friday it will close one northbound lane of Highway 63 south of Ashland due to a rock slide.
MoDOT plans to start work on the area Tuesday. The project will stabilize the face of the rock bluff and removing loose rock.
Officials expect the lane to be closed for approximately ten days, however the total project will last until May. Crews will have to periodically close Highway 63 throughout the work.
A rock slide early Friday morning closed one lane of northbound traffic on Highway 63.
Boone County officials say the slide happened near Hartman Road south of Ashland. They warn drivers to expect minor delays until the rocks are cleared from the road.
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