County officials control waters rising in Lake Contrary area

Area leaders worked on Tuesday to control seepage along the Missouri River in the south end of St. Joseph.

Posted: Mar. 19, 2019 11:39 PM
Updated: Mar. 20, 2019 2:28 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Area leaders worked on Tuesday to control seepage along the Missouri River in the south end of St. Joseph.

Buchanan County Commissioner Ron Hook said city and county officials were working together to monitor water levels and road conditions.

Houses, in the Lake Contrary Beach area, sit deep in the water Tuesday evening and the river could continue to swell later in the week.

Hook said one of his concerns is sand boils. A sand boil occurs when the weight of the increasing water level presses down on the soil layers under a levee.

“If sand boils appear in the streets and roads, here along the lake, that means there’s pressure build-up underneath of them,” he said.

In a worst-case scenario, the water locates a weak spot in the soil, seeps up to the surface on the land or roadside of the levee. Hook said the boils can lead to heavy road damage and cars compound the problem.

“When cars drive over them it causes more and more damage and that causes more sand boils to appear,” he said.

These boils can also weaken a levy and a significant amount of damage could lead to a levee breach.

To ease some of the pressure, county officials are working with the Air National Guard, the Corps of Engineers and the Sheriff’s Department to limit traffic on roads showing early signs of bubbling.

Hook said they asked the Lake Contrary Association to alleviate some of the pressure in the ground by pumping water into the lake.

Buchanan County officials are preparing for the worst but expect floodwater damage to be less than the floods in 2010 and 2011.

This one will be much shorter than those two floods so I think this time it will hold, Hook said.

Southwest Lakefront Lane is closed from the beach to 46th road.

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Temperatures remaining near or slightly above average for the next few days as conditions stay dry. For tonight, another dry night with mostly clear skies. Lows will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s. There could be a little bit of patchy fog as well.
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