Rising flood waters continue to affect travel in the Show Me State and the Missouri Department of Transportation is working to keep roads open. Click to hear MoDOT’s weekly podcast.

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Press Release from the Missouri Department of Transportation:

JEFFERSON CITY – With rising floodwaters across the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation has a new tool to keep water off the roads and motorists safe. Big Bags are large sand bags that unfold like an accordion to create a 15-foot long, 3-foot high by 3-foot wide storage compartment for sand. One system of Big Bags takes the place of 500 sand bags.
“We used them for the first time in the southeast area when flood waters threatened many of our major roads, and now we’re using them on the west side of Route 65 between Carrollton and Waverly for a two-mile stretch,” said Beth Wright, MoDOT state maintenance engineer. “A new product like this can help us save time and keep traffic flowing for commerce and emergency access.”
The Big Bags work much like Lego’s toys – a chain of dumpster-sized bags can be attached, filled with sand and built upon to create floodwalls quickly and easily. The bags are made of tightly woven polypropylene with wooden frames that are screwed together. Each system weighs only 50 pounds when empty, but when deployed they are filled with 2,800 –3,500 pounds of sand, depending on its moisture content. The bags are filled with the help of a conveyer system created during their recent use in the southeast area.
“The flood of 2008 prompted us to pursue the Big Bags,” Wright said. “We wanted to have something new to try in our next flood emergency.”
MoDOT was the first state in the Midwest to purchase the Big Bags, and currently has 480 systems available to the districts when they are needed.
You can view pictures of these Big Bags on MoDOT’s Flickr site by going to http://www.flickr.com/photos/modot/ or watch a video of the Big Bags getting placed along Route 65 at http://youtu.be/gHjlKEqJQ8M.