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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • U.S. 24 bridge re-opens at Quincy

  • Another sign of a retreating Mississippi River was evident Thursday when the Quincy Memorial Bridge that spans the Mississippi River between West Quincy, Mo., and Quincy, Ill., re-opened to traffic after being closed for five days due to flooding.
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  • Another sign of a retreating Mississippi River was evident Thursday when the Quincy Memorial Bridge that spans the Mississippi River between West Quincy, Mo., and Quincy, Ill., re-opened to traffic after being closed for five days due to flooding.
    U.S. 54 at the Champ Clark Bridge in Louisiana, which has been closed since July 6, remains closed by flooding on the Illinois side, but commuters still were making their way across on foot.
    In Clarksville, flood-fighting efforts are winding down.
    Americorps volunteers plan to leave today (Friday) after spending more than a week helping residents and businesses put up sandbags and concrete barriers to keep the water out.
    The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency is to visit today (Friday) for an assessment. Meanwhile, the Clarksville United Methodist Church will serve the last of its free meals to flood volunteers (today) Friday. Organizers will decide next week whether to keep the kitchen open.
    The water level in Clarksville had dropped only three inches Thursday after cresting two days earlier. It’s not expected to drop below flood stage for more than two weeks.
    In Hannibal, the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service reports an official crest of 26.68 feet happened at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ website said the river topped out at 26.7 feet on Tuesday afternoon in Hannibal.
    Since cresting, the river has been receding in Hannibal. As of 7:15 p.m. Thursday the river level was 25.73 feet.
    While there is still plenty of water east of Hannibal’s flood levee, some may already be wondering when the flood gates might be removed. When the city’s five flood gates were installed on June 30, John Hark, emergency management director for the city, indicated he will be patient when it comes to taking them out.
    “I will leave them in now until it gets below the 20-foot mark and it definitely shows signs it’s draining out and we’ve got nothing coming in behind it from the north,” said Hark.
    According to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, the river won’t fall below 20 feet until Friday, July 18.
    In Elsberry, Foley and Winfield, officials were cautiously optimistic Thursday that they'll soon emerge from this year's flood with relatively minor damage.
    Winfield City Clerk Roschell Eaton said a foot of dirt was added to the top of the levee protecting the town, and the levee was holding.
    Not that she was taking anything for granted. "It's a levee and it's the river - it's unpredictable," Eaton said.
    In Foley, inmates from a county jail filled sandbags and placed them atop a levee protecting the town of 160 residents. Sandbags also patched places where water was leaking through the earthen levee.
    Page 2 of 2 - "There were little spots but we got them all," Mayor Ken Jaspering said. "It's always dangerous, don't get me wrong. But in this case, we were on top of it."
    The flood arose suddenly after torrential rains in the upper Midwest in the past two weeks. In many parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, the flood was among the 10 highest on record.
    But unlike some recent floods, the water is falling quickly, which bodes well for levees - the more saturated they become, the more likely they are to break.
    Several locks and dams on the Mississippi River remained closed from Muscatine, Iowa, south to near St. Louis, bringing barge traffic to a standstill.
    (The Associated Press and Brent Engel contributed to this story.)

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