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East Gate travel from Fort Leonard Wood to I-44 blocked by flooding
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 12, 2009) — Flooding on Highway J about seven miles south of Interstate 44 is complicating travel out the East Gate of Fort Leonard Wood, according to post reports and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Fort Leonard Wood’s emergency operations center issued a media report Thursday afternoon that Route J outside the East Gate is closed due to flooding; the Big Piney River flood level is currently at 13.5 feet. Those who need more information can call the EOC at 563-4141.

Missouri Department of Transportation online traffic hazard reports show that the flooding extends from the junction of Highway J and Highway M north to the Big Piney River. It’s not clear how long the flooding will continue to obstruct the roadway.

That’s an area where MoDOT personnel had planned to begin replacing culverts and drainage pipes near the roadway beginning next Wednesday. According to MoDOT road work reports, drainage pipes near the roadway periodically need to be replaced to maintain proper drainage.

The Highway J/Highway M intersection is just east of the Pulaski-Phelps county line. No parts of the state road system in Pulaski County are currently flooded, according to MoDOT reports, but the Boiling Spring area of Highway BB in Texas County south of Fort Leonard Wood has been flooded since Wednesday morning, with water moving over the road and making vehicle travel impossible.

“Saturated ground, heavy rainfall and runoff in low-lying areas has resulted in state highway closures due to flooding in several locations,” according to a MoDOT press release. “With continued rainfall predicted, flooding is expected to become more widespread.”

An online map of road closures is available at

http://maps.modot.mo.gov/travelerinformation/TravelerInformation.aspx?district=9

According MoDOT Maintenance Engineer Henry Haggard, flooded roadways pose a threat to motorists due to how difficult it can be to determine the depth or swiftness of moving water.

“Our crews quickly move to place barricades and warning signs in areas where flooding is a concern,” Haggard wrote in a MoDOT press release.

“These devices are intended to warn the traveling public in advance of flooded areas and should be taken seriously. You should never attempt to cross a flooded area,” Haggard wrote.

According to Haggard, MoDOT crews place all available barricades and warning signs in flooded areas and, as supplies are depleted, utilize cones. Haggard said the cones should be recognized as warnings as well.

“Anytime a cone is placed on the roadway, it is a warning,” Haggard said. “Motorists should exercise extreme caution in all areas, particularly those marked.”

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