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Route 109 closed for month-long emergency repairs

(photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Transportation)
A crumbling stretch of Route 109 will be closed for a month for emergency repairs

The Missouri Department of Transportation has shut down a mile-long stretch of Route 109 in Wildwood to make emergency repairs to a crumbling hillside.

The department was planning to do the construction during the summer months, says district engineer Ed Hassinger. They've been watching the stretch of road between Turkey Track and Christy for the last couple of years.

"It hasn't really been doing anything, it's been pretty stable," Hassinger says. "And then all of a sudden, one of our maintenance employees yesterday noticed something looked a little different. We were watching it continuously yesterday just to see what it was going to do, and it was clear this morning that it was not going to be a safe condition much longer."

This kind of erosion isn't uncommon in Missouri, Hassinger says.

"The kind of soil we have in Missouri gets loaded up with water, it becomes heavier, and if there’s any cracks or failures in the ground then those things get accelerated and basically the whole hillside just slides," he says.

Local drivers can use Old State Road as a detour. Hassinger encourages through traffic to use Manchester (Route 100). About 20,000 cars travel this portion of 109 of a daily basis.

A spokeswoman for the Rockwood School District says buses for Eureka High School, LaSalle Springs and Wildwood middle schools, and Pond Elementary School will be rerouted, but the location of bus stops won't change.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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