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MODOT Could Elevate Flooded Highway in Clark County

Jason Parrott
Tri States Public Radio

Improvements could be made to a highway in Clark County that is prone to flooding, as long as voters support a new sales tax next month.

The stretch of Highway 61 between Alexandria, Mo. and the Iowa state line runs near the intersection of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers.

It is shut down at the moment because flood water has overtaken the road.  MoDOT must inspect the road once the water has receded before it can be re-opened.

MoDOT District Engineer Paula Gough said the state would have the money to elevate the highway if a new statewide 3/4 cent sales tax is approved.

"This has been one of the projects that the local officials have been very passionate about," said Gough, "but unfortunately, we have not had the ability in the past to fund this project.”

MoDOT says it could elevate this stretch of Highway 61 if voters approve a 3/4 cent sales tax next month.

Gough said engineering work is underway to determine how high the road would need to be elevated to prevent the constant flood-related closures.

She said that is just one of the projects that would be completed if votes approve the sales tax during the August primary.

  • Champ Clark Bridge at U.S. 54 over Mississippi River in Louisiana (contingent on funding from Illinois)
  • Raising U.S. 61 near Alexandria to reduce and possibly eliminate road closures due to flooding
  • Shared four-lane between Mexico and Scott's Corner at MO 19/US 54
  • An upgraded interchange at U.S. 61/MO 47 in Troy
  • A new interchange at U.S. 61/MO 6 in Kirksville
  • Safety improvements including several intersections located near schools
  • 841 miles of resurfacing, which includes 116 miles of shoulders
  • 43 bridge replacements or improvements

Gough said the sales tax on everything but food and medicine would be in place for ten years.  It would generate about $550-million annually.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.