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Crews working to clean up fallen rock from road bluffs

Fallen rock removal will close roads in central Missouri this week.

One lane of Highway 50 in Cole County will be closed at varying times between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through April 4 while crews remove the rock from roadside bluffs, the Missouri Department of Transportation said in a news release. Message boards will warn drivers about the closures.

Part of Business 54 in Fulton will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday while crews remove dangerous loose and falling rock from a hill, MoDOT said in a separate news release. The road will be closed between Shultz Street and Second Street.

MoDOT assistant director of maintenace engineering Paul Denkler said this happens every winter.

” We’ve got our pothole patrol, we go out this time of year and see what kind of effects this winter had on our roadways, ” Denkler said. ” The thing people may not realize is also the effect it has on our rock cuts. ”

Denkler mentioned that after a harsh winter such as the one mid-Missouri just experienced more rock can fall from roadside bluffs.

” There are two things that are going to affect the ammount of sloughing off that we have on those rock cuts, ” Denkler said. ” One is if there is an extended ammount of precipitation that we had this winter, and then you get a lot of freeze-thaw cycles. So you combine both of those and you are going to have more incidences. ”

Right now, crews are working to empty the fallen rocks from ditches along the road, to allow for more rock to fall. ” We’ll have loaders and excavators there moving the material that’s in the ditch line to make room for any more rock that may slough off. ” Denkler said. ” There’s going to be a lot of equiptment that’s coming in and out of those work zones, so just like any other work zone drivers should pay attention. ”

MoDOT is inspecting all of its roads with rock bluffs. ” The width of the ditch and the depth of the ditch are what we monitor to make sure we have enought capacity for rock that does slough off and has a place to lay. ”

Denkler said they have inspections and maintance in the fall and at the beginning of spring for these areas.

Denkler said these areas are not dangerous for the most part, because the roads are designed with falling rock in mind.

” When we are designing a highway, when we know we’re going through a rock cut, we will design those far enough back from the pavement that we allow that rock to land in the ditch, ” Denkler said. ” The material we are seeing now is superficial. It’s just the material that been pushed out from the ice and water expanding. ”

Denkler said if anyone sees rock fall or a large amount on the side of the road, they should report it to MoDOT .

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