New bypass near Wappapello spillway to open this week

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

APPAPELLO LAKE, Mo. -- A new Route T bypass road is expected to open late this week below the emergency spillway at Wappapello Lake.

The road will not have a weight limit but will have a reduced speed of 20 mph, said Park Ranger John Daves.

It will be along the Southside Spillway Access Road, which runs through the Blue Hole area and will be maintained by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which is also conducting safety inspections prior to the opening, Daves said.

The bypass road took about two weeks to construct and will be used at least until decisions are made regarding permanent repair of Route T, he said.

MoDOT officials have said it could take two years or more before the route is open again.

Traffic is routed now along Iron Bridge Road.

About 400 feet of Route T was destroyed when water overflowed the emergency spillway at Wappapello Lake earlier this month.

The lake reached a record crest of 400.03 feet and saw discharges at more than 30,000 cubic feet per second.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to reopen recreation areas and campgrounds as water falls, and repairs can be completed, Daves said.

All predicted opening dates and activities are dependent on whether the area receives significant rainfall in the coming weeks, he added.

"This is going to be a slow recovery process," Daves said.

One campground, People's Creek Upper, is open at this time, on a first-come, first-served basis.

People are also able to launch boats from the Sundowner parking lot, but parking is limited.

Access to the Bill Emerson Memorial Visitor Center is open on the north side, where Route T crosses the dam.

The area below the dam is also open. Both areas are only open during daylight hours.

The visitor center parking lot is open, but the center itself is closed.

The space is being used as a temporary office for the corps, while sewer and phone/Internet service are restored at the main building.

The visitor center is expected to be open for Memorial Day weekend, Daves said. Redman Creek Recreation Area should also be open at that time, with access from a road which joins to the visitor center parking lot.

Redman Creek Campground East and West should reopen June 1, Daves continued, with business as usual, including reservations. He again warned this could change if a significant rainfall occurs.

Floodwater had also receded past the white line on Route D by Thursday night, he said.

Pertinent address:

Wappapello Lake, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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