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Officials warn against moving road closure signs

With the threat of more rain moving in this week, officials say they have seen drivers ignoring or even moving road closure signs.

Boone County Fire District Assistant Chief Gale Blomenkamp said local officials haven’t seen an increase in drivers moving signs recently, but it is something they see every time there is flooding

“We have these local roads that are closed due to flooding because people are familiar with them, they think they understand how much water is going to be there based on how much rain we have had,” Blomenkamp said.

Though a road may not look dangerous past the road closure signs, there’s a chance the road is damaged. “Even if the water has receded, there may be a soft spot in that road, there may be something they can’t detect underneath, whether it be a bridge or a culvert,” Blomenkamp said.

Moving signs also puts subsequent drivers and first responders at risk, he said.

While his department does not financially charge drivers for water rescues, Blomenkamp said drivers can be charged criminally for moving or ignoring road closure signs.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott White said drivers who move or ignore road closures signs could face fines, or even possibly time in jail.

“It just depends on how dangerous and the specific circumstances behind one of those traffic stops or the flooded roadway,” White said.

White said troopers see drivers either moving barricades or driving through water every time it floods. He said multiple flooding deaths across the country for the most part have the same cause.

“Almost every one of those flooding deaths occur inside a vehicle and it’s almost always because some drove past a barricade or driven through moving water,” White said.

Blomenkamp hopes drivers pay attention to the posted signs.

“People just need to understand, the road crews have put those signs up for a reason: the road is closed, turn around and find a alternate route,” he said. “Our crews are ready. Hopefully we don’t have to do any water rescues because that’s just an undue risk that we put ourselves in.”

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