A wetter than wet spring has continued to take its toll on Polk County, bringing with it the delayed completion of a long-anticipated bridge project. 

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the wet weather has postponed the final stage of the McCracken Bridge replacement, begun in February. 

The bridge, which spans Pomme de Terre Lake on Rt. PP east of Flemington, was scheduled to be open to traffic by June 1. However, the opening date remains uncertain due to the wet conditions on the project site, MoDOT said via a news release.

While the bridge portion of the project is complete, crews cannot build the approach pavement that connects to the bridge “due to the saturated ground,” the release said.

MoDOT said an exact opening date will be announced once the approach pavement can be built. However, the delay could be several weeks long.  

Additional weather and construction delays could further alter the work schedule, the release added.

In the meantime, drivers must continue to find alternate routes. While there is no signed detour, Mo. 83 and Rt. V may be used to get around the closing.

Drivers may, however, access entrances to county roads and driveways on either side of the bridge. 

The original bridge, built in 1961, was replaced with a new, wider span that will accommodate two lanes of traffic, MoDOT Resident Engineer Shannon Kellner told the BH-FP in April.

But something of the old remains with the new, Kellner said. The former bridge’s columns have remained in place, with new beam caps constructed atop them. 

At a total cost of $1.9 million, the release said the project also includes the addition of a new guardrail at the bridge ends.

Lake levels remain high

Meanwhile, area lakes remain at high water, with many boat ramps and recreation areas inaccessible — sending local anglers and boaters on the hunt for higher ground as far away as Table Rock Lake. 

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, as of Thursday, June 13, Pomme de Terre Lake was holding steady, just under 10 feet from the top of flood pool at 864.43 feet. 

That level has not fluctuated more than a foot since the last week of May, USACE time series data indicates. 

Historical data indicates the lake stands at its highest level in at least five years. 

The lake’s normal elevation is 839 feet.

Meanwhile, outflow has remained at 50 cfs daily since May 28, its recent peak of about 2,500 cfs.

At nearby Stockton Lake, elevation stood less than 8 feet below top of flood at 884.62 feet on Friday, June 14. Normal elevation is 867 feet.

The lake reached its highest elevation in at least five years — 885.29 feet — on June 1, according to USACE historical data.

As of June 14, the outflow remained at 561 cfs, following a peak outflow of 6,671 cfs on June 3.

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