Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri River Again Menacing Chesterfield Area

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri River Again Menacing Chesterfield Area

Article excerpt

The volatile Missouri River, rising again to unexpected heights, spurred renewed levee-raising Wednesday along the west flank of Chesterfield's vulnerable Gumbo bottoms.

Dump trucks hauled rock to the mile-long levee along Eatherton Road, a north-south line facing the gaping hole that the river knocked through the Monarch Levee on July 30. Work on the emergency levee had stopped Tuesday, but the river rose an inch higher than predicted by Wednesday morning - and still was climbing.

"The river got within 6 inches of the top at a few places, so the work resumed feverishly," said Brenda Collins, assistant city administrator of Chesterfield. "The dike has been built very well, but this has been a real roller coaster for us. "

Collins said the Army Corps of Engineers, which is supervising the project, planned to raise the Eatherton levee an additional 3 or 4 feet. That would put it at least 4 feet above the river crest expected late Wednesday.

At St. Charles on Wednesday morning, the river stood at 34.6 feet - higher than expected. The river was up a half foot from Tuesday and still rising. The predicted crest was 35 feet - 10 feet over flood stage - with only a slight drop forecast for today.

The record set Aug. 2 was 39.6 feet. Collins said Chesterfield needed more volunteers today to help fill sandbags for numerous patch jobs along the bottom land.

Collins said that large patches of floodwater remained in some areas of the Gumbo bottom land. The levee break July 30 inundated the area.

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, which was covered in that flooding, probably will reopen some time between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1, said St. Louis County airport director Richard Hrabko. He said that the runway and all taxiways were clear but that floodwater remained in ditches and other low spots.

At the height of the flood Aug. 2, 10 feet of water filled Sabreliner Corp.'s hangar and office at the airport. Karl Childs, Sabreliner's vice president for marketing, said the company would keep the hangar but not return to the office building. The company has temporary quarters at Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and Missouri Highway 141.

"We won't be moving back there," he said.

In other flood news:

Except for along River Drive, most of Valley Park's 1,500 flood evacuees had returned to their homes by Wednesday, Mayor Fred Palmer Jr. …

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