MoDOT: U.S. 61 at Alexandria, Mo. back open to traffic
ALEXANDRIA, Mo. (WGEM) -
MoDOT officials say U.S. 61 at Alexandria, Missouri, was re-opened Tuesday at 10 a.m. after flood waters receded enough to allow crews to clean the road.
The highway was closed July 2 after water from the Mississippi River cover the roadway. The re-opening was delayed slightly because a tree that fell over the roadway this past weekend. Re-opening the highway was something both drivers and businesses tell WGEM they were happy to see.
Nancy Winkler with the Ayerco Gas Station says signs of high flood waters are still visible around her gas station as hundreds of sandbags still barricade the building.
"We didn't do it a lot before, but this year we thought it's going to get to the building and we want to keep it out," Winkler said. "When the water goes down, we have to start scraping mud and power washing getting all that done."
Winkler says when U.S. 61 closed down it not only put a stop to traffic going through the area, but it also took a big hit on the gas station's bottom line.
"No fuel, no cigarettes. We do a lot of cigarette business. So yeah, it hurt that part too," Winkler said.
Not only were businesses affected, but drivers were too.
Keokuk resident Chuck Abell says without U.S. 61, packing up his camper and taking his family on vacation would have been a lot easier said than done.
"We're going to Mark Twain Lake and the Landing," Abell said. "So we're looking to spend an enjoyable weekend down there and this obviously makes things a little easier for us so we don't have to drive around."
As the waters continue to recede, Winkler says she's just ready for things to go back to business as usual.
"It gets old having to clean it up and that but we miss our customers," Winkler said.
Winkler says the sandbags helped prevent the store from sustaining any damage from the flood waters. She says they'll likely be removed sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday.