Awash in gravel and mud

Weekend storms leach the surface from several Boone County roads and damage a local business
Tuesday, March 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:37 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Floodwater from the record-breaking weekend downpour has receded and left what could be up to $500,000 in damage to Boone County roads.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Athletic Center in the Hinkson Creek floodplain is also dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage from the storm.

At the Boone County Public Works Department, Director David Mink said the high cost of repairs to rural roads probably qualifies the county to receive money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Though the application could take up to two months, Mink said repairs have begun.

“Crews are doing what they can to address the problems at each of the damaged areas,” Mink said. “We do not have to wait until all the costs are added up to begin repair work. We will track our costs, and then hopefully we will be reimbursed by FEMA.”

Initially, money for the repair work will come from the county’s 2004 budget for rock. If more money is needed, it will be taken from emergency funds upon approval of the Boone County Commission, Mink said.

A total of nearly 4 inches of rain fell across much of Boone County on Friday, setting a record for a one-day March rainfall.

“Most of the damage is loss of rock on the roads,” Mink said. “A lot of the places that were damaged have a lot of erosion, where the water washed away the rock.”

Crews spread new rock on those roads then use a motor grader to smooth it out. The county owns nine motor graders; each is assigned to a specific district.

“It will take several weeks for the motor graders to repair all of the damaged areas,” Mink said.

Though the most significant damage to roads was erosion of surface rock, a few sites were damaged when erosion allowed underground pipes to wash downstream.

“Carr Road is an example of a large section of pipe that has been washed away,” Mink said. “Carr Road will be the biggest project and take the longest to repair.”

Also on Monday, city workers began assessing damage to trails. While no city trail is closed, all were affected by the weekend storms, Park Services Division Manager Mike Griggs said.

“This is the worst we’ve had in a while,” he said. “This type of rain, where there is intense rainfall in a short period of time, is far worse than a steady downpour that lasts for several days because then the creeks slowly rise and slowly recede. This rain had much more force, and there was much more erosion.”

Erosion was the most widespread of three types of damage to city trails. “The floods just washed the rock off the top of the trail,” Griggs said.

“The second type of damage occurred when the waters receded,” Griggs said. “They took sediment with them and deposited it in areas where we don’t want it, like parking lots.”

Minor water damage also might have affected signs or washed away mulch from newly planted trees. Once all the damage is evaluated, park officials will prioritize repairs.

“The MKT, Bear and Hinkson Trails are linear trails,” Griggs said. “Those will be repaired first because people use them to get to work and classes, and they use them for exercise. They are the highest-use trails.”

Loop trails within neighborhoods and parks will be repaired next.

At the Missouri Athletic Center near Forum Boulevard, workers are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Co-director Jessica Schultz said the health club is looking at damage estimated in “the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The center, which is owned by Wilson’s Total Fitness, had to close because of flooding. Schultz said they hope to have the second floor, which houses the “Females in Training” program, reopened on Wednesday and the pool and aerobics area by the end of the week.

“Fortunately we do have insurance,” Schultz said. “We’re looking on the bright side of things ... We want to keep things moving, and we hope to make it an even better club.”

The center’s soccer fields remain open, and club members are allowed to work out at Wilson’s Total Fitness while repairs are being made.

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