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Residents call for action as safety concerns grow for Gillespie Bridge Road


Some residents who live near Gillespie Bridge Road are expressing concerns for their safety and are calling on Boone County for more preventative measures to be put into place during severe weather.

Last week, Iveta Thayer and her husband were swept away by floodwaters covering Gillepsie Bridge road in their car. Iveta's husband, David Thayer, was rescued from the car, but Iveta remained trapped. Their vehicle and Iveta Thayer's body was recovered two days later. She was 81.

Courtney Diya, a resident of Perche Ridge, said she and her family recently moved to the neighborhood from California and were unaware of how dangerous the flooding on Gillespie Bridge Road could be. She said the recent death has raised concerns.

"We just don't want anyone to get hurt and there's families in here; and we just we want to be safe when we're driving and we don't really want to, you know, worry about getting swept away," Diya said.

Anna Langworthy, another Perche Ridge resident, says she thinks more needs to be done to help educate about the flood dangers in the area.

"We do have people who might not understand the risk that they are signing up for when they move in," Langworthy said. "Because it's not like we get a written piece of paper that says, 'Hey, you're moving into a floodplain.' So, I do think there could be more that's done."

According to Bill Florea, Boone County's Director of Resource Management, roughly 3,000 vehicles drove on Gillespie Bridge Road per day in 2023. That's an increase of 700 cars per day from 2013's data of 2,300 cars driving the bridge each day.

On Friday, when Iveta Thayer's body was recovered, ABC 17 News spoke with Scott Mullins, who also lives along Gillespie Bridge Road. He said at the time that he would love to see a better warning system put into place, but if the area continues to grow, a change may need to happen.

"I live right there and I don't really don't want this road to get that busy, but if it ever does get that busy, the only solution I see is is building a bridge all the way from where the bridge is now to Coats Lane, a half a mile long bridge," Mullins said.

ABC 17 News asked Florea about the possibility of an expansion of the bridge itself to Coats Lane.

"I don't know that that would ever pencil out on a cost benefit basis," Florea said. "I don't know if that would ever be considered. It's never been brought up before formally, that I'm aware of."

Florea explained he's a resident of the Gillespie Bridge area and that the flooding is something that comes with the location.

"When the road's flooded, it's a temporary inconvenience. People can drive around. I live in that neighborhood, I have to drive around. Sometimes I don't like it, but it's, you know, it's just part of living there," Florea said.

On Wednesday, Mullins he expressed a readiness to take safety efforts into his own hands the next time the road floods.

"Maybe I could, you know, call the county or go out there myself and drag the barriers out to give people a little more warning when they come up over this hill," Mullins said.

Diya said she hopes any safety possible measures are completed before more land is developed and more people move into the area.

"It's a huge safety concern, not just like in the summer months, but also in the winter. So it'd be nice if they fix that before, you know, they start building even more and then more families," Diya said.

Article Topic Follows: Boone

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Olivia Hayes

Olivia is a summer intern at ABC 17 News.


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