Rock slide closes part of Osage Beach Parkway, one east bound lane open

Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 5:40 AM CST
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Cheryl Hanssen and her husband Fred were on their way home just around 10:00 p.m. Sunday after dropping their son's dog off.

"The noise was just like an explosion," said Cheryl Hanssen.

They got onto Highway 54 from Nichols Road, heading east.

"Out of the corner of my eye I had seen a lot of rocks and I'm thinking, 'We're too far over on the side of the road,'" Hanssen recalled.

But, they were on the road.

So were 300 tons of rock from the hillside to their right.

"It was unavoidable," Hanssen said. "The rock was just there. It's like, when a rabbit or squirrel runs out in front of you. There's nothing you can do. You can't stop."

Hanssen's husband hit the rock, damaging his car. Both he and his wife are okay.

Hanssen says she had a feeling that rock was going to fall for months.

"We've been watching this rock for months now, saying we knew this rock was going to fall we'd just like to see what happens when it does. We didn't want to be in what happened when it fell," Hanssen said.

MoDOT Area Engineer Bob Lynch says crews believe recent weather is to blame.

"We had rain over the weekend, heavy rain on Friday night, Saturday. That could've caused some of this," Lynch said. "We just have to wait to see what the geologists say."

Lynch says the rock is stable, but MoDOT has a geologist coming to the site to check its structural integrity before they determine if anything needs to be done.

"We design these rock bluffs to be able to stand up during most situations like this," Lynch added. "Unfortunately, we had a situation here."

The eastbound, right lane of Highway 54 remains closed between Nichols Road and Case Road.

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