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Rocheport residents laying sandbags into evening hours

Volunteers have been laying sandbags along the Katy Trail in Rocheport since Tuesday and continued into Wednesday night as water from the Missouri River and Moniteau Creek has started to creep into the Boone County town.

Many volunteers said they will return Thursday morning if they’re unable to finish their efforts on Wednesday evening.

Brandon Vair owns Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop along the Katy Trail. He helped lay sandbags Tuesday in severe weather, and said the volunteers working Wednesday would continue to do so until the work was done. He said volunteers laid about 7,000 bags Tuesday.

Rocheport Mayor Conrad Yates said volunteers were getting sand from a nearby dredging operation.

“The problem with the operation during high water is it becomes inundated with water and you can no longer get any sand,” Yates said. “Thankfully, we did get quite a bit of sand stocked up before that happened.”

Volunteers worked to put that sand into plastic lined bags to build the wall along the trail. Yates said unfortunately sand is not a great barrier to water.

“Sand is very permeable, so it slows the flow it doesn’t stop the flow,” he said.

Vair said the group of volunteers was much larger on Wednesday and was getting much more work done. Vair said his business really is not in any danger because during the major flood of 1993 the water only reached the boardwalk in front of the door.

“It’s down the way on the west side of town. That’s the big concern,” he said.

Brian Samuels lives on the west side of Rocheport. He was working to clear out the belongings that he could while volunteers started to lay sandbags around his house.

“I got a few things out of the garage that, once they wall this off with sandbags or whatever barrier they put up here there’s no more moving anything out after that,” he said.

He said he is concerned about the rain expected Wednesday night and later in the week.

“It’s set up a cycle as it’s done in the past like ’93 where it just doesn’t look like it’s going to quit raining,” Samuels said.

He was taking several steps to prepare for the water, including adding an extra sump pump in his basement.

Anyone can volunteer to help lay sandbags with plenty of work left to be done.

Rocheport is working with the Boone County Office of Emergency Management to bring in water pumps to put on the other side of the wall. The pumps add an extra barrier to protect the community from flood waters.

With more rain in the forecast, Yates said the sandbag wall will stay up until they decide to take it down.

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