Nixon, Danner to discuss flood-fight plans

PORTAGE DES SIOUX (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon says the state is prepared to help out in the St. Louis area to protect lives and property as floodwaters rise, and he pledges that the help will continue when the water goes back down.

Nixon spoke Friday in the St. Charles County town of Portage des Sioux.

The governor says the flooding on the Missouri River will last for many weeks, and that duration could create additional problems. He urged local officials to be prepared in case more heavy rain causes the river to rise even further than expected.

Missouri is getting hit by flooding from both of the nation’s biggest rivers — the Mississippi and the Missouri. Portage des Sioux sits near the confluence of the two rivers.

Senators from Missouri and North Dakota will be working together to address flood control issues along the Missouri River.

The two states often have been at odds over how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should manage the dams that control the flow of the Missouri River. But residents in both states have expressed concerns this year after the Corps released record amounts of water because of heavy rains and snow melts, causing widespread floods.

Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill said Thursday they’re teaming with North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kent Conrad to launch the “Missouri River Working Group.” They plan an initial meeting during the week of July 11.

The senators say they’ll evaluate the factors that led to this year’s flooding and ways to avoid similar problems in the future.

Meanwhile, Missouri 45 near Farley was being closed because of concerns about flooding, forcing traffic to take alternate routes.

Crews began closing the highway to through traffic Friday morning from Missouri 92 to Interstate 435.

The highway will remain closed until floodwaters reach a safe level. It’s already closed from Missouri 116 in Buchanan County to Missouri Route H in Weston, north of Kansas City.

The Platte River is rising because it’s unable to drain into the Missouri River.

The Department of Transportation is working with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Platte County Emergency Management and the local levee district to place temporary levees along Missouri 45. The effort is aimed at raising the road elevation to match the existing levee in the area.

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