Missouri Department of Transportation personnel could be found working along Missouri 79 on Friday morning at about the same location where a large boulder fell Thursday, forcing the roadway to be closed for a time. Friday’s work was proactive in nature.
Missouri Department of Transportation personnel could be found working along Missouri 79 on Friday morning at about the same location where a large boulder fell Thursday, forcing the roadway to be closed for a time. Friday’s work was proactive in nature, according to MoDOT’s Simon Begley.
“Yesterday we had a big boulder fall. There was still a piece of boulder stuck on the bluff up here so today we did a control fall,” he said. “We had a crane come down. Then we lassoed the boulder and put a 200-foot cable on it. Then we brought it down in a safe manner the way we wanted to before the rain hit and Mother Nature took it down.”
MoDOT wanted to get the remaining boulder down sooner than later.
“If it had rained, it would have been down on its own, so we safely brought it down,” said Begley.
Begley just smiled when asked to estimate the size of the boulder which came down Thursday and the one brought down Friday.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” he laughed. “The boulder today wasn’t as big as what came down yesterday, but it was in a very dangerous position.”
Begley thanked Continental Cement and the Ralls County Sheriff’s Department for their help on Thursday.
“They (Continental Cement) came out when the first big rock fell and they got it off the road for us. They had it pretty well cleaned up by the time we got here,” he said, noting that the sheriff’s department helped with traffic control during the cleanup.
The area along Missouri 79, south of Hannibal between Sawyer’s Creek and Continental Cement, is prone to rock slides.
“These (smaller) rocks fall quite often. Every once in a while we have to come in and clean this area up,” said Begley.
The large boulder brought down Friday was the one posing the greatest hazard.
“We did have our MoDOT geologist come down and she looked it over. That was the main one that we were concerned about that would come down. Of course, there’s always the potential of rocks coming down. After the wintertime, especially after the freezing and thawing loosening up the rocks,” said Begley.
When MoDOT departed the scene Friday a handful of large boulders remained at the base of the hillside. They will eventually be removed.
“We’ll bring our drag line down with a headache ball. We’ll bust them up in reasonable pieces where we can load them into our truck and haul them away,” said Begley.