Thursday, July 02, 2009

Don't say you weren't warned

Looks like a pretty good road, don't you think? Dirt, but freshly graded. We're on our way here to one of Lucas County's "Missouri crossings," installed on lesser-used roads the county doesn't want to close but where the expense of a new bridge can't be justified once something goes wrong with the original.

In this case, some damnfool drunk several years ago decided to lead the law on a high-speed chase, slammed into the old iron bridge that crossed the Chariton River here three miles southwest of town and ruined it. If you keep going over the hill in the distance, providing you can keep going, you'll come to Waynick Cemetery, then meander back to town.

A Missouri crossing involves tearing out the bridge, regrading the road so you drive down into the stream bed, installing a culvert of some sort if the stream is big enough, then putting an inexpensive gravel or in some cases concrete surface over it. When it's dry, it's a breeze; when the stream is running a little high you drive through water; when the water's high you find another route. Or that's the idea.

There are plenty of signs to warn drivers about the sort of crossing they're approaching, three of them here on either side.

The difficulty with the Chariton River, however, is that it's probably just a little too large to be managed effectively by a Missouri crossing. It's not that big, up her close to its source, but powerful during high water --- and we've had lots of that this spring. So the crossing washed out and I don't think we'll try it across today.

But all this grading suggests that there are plans afoot to repair it --- once it stops raining long enough to allow it.

I have a feeling this road is blockaded at either end to keep the unwary off it, but don't know that for sure. I took the pedestrian shortcut Wednesday, a three-mile hike down the Cinder Path from town, then about a quarter mile east on the old road.

That was fun. The three-mile hike back to town wasn't since I hadn't actually planned to come this far when I started out, but one thing led to another. I was not wearing appropriate footwear and now my feet hurt. Ouch!

1 comment:

Ed Abbey said...

We have one of those just south of town where last summer, a kid swimming in the hole upstream of the crossing managed to get stuck in the culvert under the crossing. It took the fire department, lube, rope and leverage to get the scared kid back out. I'm guessing she doesn't do that one again.