Morning round-up
9:34 am
Fri July 1, 2011

Morning headlines: Friday, July 1, 2011

Obama issues federal emergency declaration

President Barack Obama has issued a federal emergency declaration for Missouri because of flooding along the Missouri River system and flash floods in the northeast. Gov. Jay Nixon says his request for the declaration was granted Thursday.

The declaration covers all 25 counties along the Missouri River,from the far northwest to St. Louis. It also applies to northeastern Missouri's Clark and Lewis counties, which have been coping with flash floods. Nixon says the declaration clears the way for federal assistance in efforts to protect lives and property. Such assistance includes material to support long-term shelter operations plus help and equipment for flood-fighting operations, such as pumps, sand and sandbags.

New span of Daniel Boone Bridge planned

A new span of the Daniel Boone Bridge over the Missouri River in suburban St. Louis is planned, but it won't be ready for a few years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the East-West Gateway Council of Governments has approved the $128.7 million project, a move that clears the way for federal money to be spent. The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and the Federal Highway Administration must still review plans, but approval seems likely.

The project will replace the westbound side of the bridge that carries Interstate 64 traffic between St. Louis and St. Charles counties. That current span was built in the 1930s.

Work is expected to begin late next year and take about three years to complete.

Insurance companies receive 15,000 claims for Joplin tornado

Insurance companies already have paid out more than $500 million in claims for the May 22 tornado that truck Joplin. But the final total could grow to three or four times that amount.

The state insurance department said Thursday that insurance companies report receiving 14,910 claims on homeowners, commercial and vehicle insurance policies so far. They have paid out $509 million on those claims. But the state agency says insurance companies expect total claims from the tornado to reach nearly 17,000.

The department also says some of the claims already received were probably partial, with more money likely to be paid on them.