Section of Route M in Jefferson County closed over landslide concerns

JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO - The ground could let loose and a landslide could occur at any minute along Route M in Jefferson County.

This all occurred during heavy rains back in late April. The location of the problem is on Route M between Highway 61/67 and Interstate 55. Engineers with the Missouri Department of Transportation said it took years for the problem to become this dangerous.

“(It) could potentially injure, severely injure, or kill someone, and that’s why MODOT is taking the precaution to keep it closed,” said Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer.

From the road the landslide that’s occurred so far doesn’t like much. It’s what could come next that has engineers worried. Thousands of tons of rocks, dirt, and trees could slide down the hill into a car or pedestrian.

“The actual real damage is up on the slope still to come down,” Wagner said.

The MoDOT engineer said conditions are very precarious; a strong wind could uproot a tree, touching off a big landslide.

MoDOT has a plan to fix the problem. They plan to install huge wire baskets filled with big rocks. The baskets drain water and also keep the ground in place. They hope to have Route M reopened by late September or early October. Not soon enough for some folks.

Ginny Williams, who owns a custard and hamburger restaurant, said her business has been hit hard since the road closed.

“Customers have a tough time getting to her place,” Williams said. “Normally, I got customers that will come three or four times a week so they cut back to maybe once a week.”

“You got to go to Z Highway or north to Imperial in order to get back on, so it’s kind of inconvenient,” said Charlie Courtois, owner of Countryside Heating and Cooling.