Missouri’s lakes and rivers are full, the ground is saturated and the rain is expected to keep coming. The Missouri Department of Transporation says several roads — and one bridge — have been closed to traffic.

Sally Oxenhandler with the Transporation Department says 16 roads are closed in Northeast and Northwest Missouri, the St. Louis area and in the Bootheel.

She says the majority of them are rural roads that are prone to flooding when Missouri gets heavy rains.

Gov. Nixon has declared a state of emergency in connection with the closing of the U.S. 24 bridge over the Grand River between Chariton and Carroll counties.


MoDOT closed the bridge last month after inspections showed that flooding had scoured out dirt and bridge materials supporting the bridge piers.

The emergency declaration is necessary for approval of MoDOT’s application for federal emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration. If the application is approved, MoDOT would be eligible for 100 percent of the needed funds for emergency repairs and 80 percent for permanent repairs. MoDOT has awarded an emergency contract to St. Louis Bridge Construction Co., out of Arnold. MoDOT expects to open the bridge for at least one lane of traffic by Aug. 15, 2010, with repairs expected to be completed by Oct. 1, 2010.

The emergency declaration will remain in effect until the repairs have been made and the bridge is deemed safe to re-open for public travel.

Oxenhandler says Governor Nixon has declared a state of emergency in that area so that federal funding can expedite the repair process to get the bridge reopened.

She says the department treats flood season just like snow and ice storms in the winter. Staff is put on call, maintenance is budgeted in. She says 16 closings isn’t too bad considering about 90 roads were closed at one time.

And it doesn’t look like the rain’s going to slack off this month. Climatologists are predicting a cooler and wetter than usual first half of July after a June with lots of rain and record highs.