Lake-area motorists have watched for years as crews cut the new highway through the limestone that runs under Osage Beach. The four-lane expressway will allow through traffic to avoid the ever-growing number of stoplights along the business route.
"We actually hope to be opening the section from the Osage River Bridge to the Grand Glaize Bridge later this year, hopefully by mid-October, Missouri Department of Transportation District 5 Engineer Roger Schwartze said.
There is still a lot of work to do west of the Grand Glaize Bridge, where crews are still excavating the path the new road. However, that's section where the Environmental Protection Agency cites MoDOT for failing to contain storm run-off from the construction area.
The EPA said MoDOT highway builders may have polluted the Lake of the Ozarks.
The EPA performed an inspection of MoDOT TMs construction in the area in May 2010. A news release issued by the EPA said:
The inspection found that MoDOT failed to install and maintain best management practices, failed to develop, implement and update adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan, failed to comply with narrative water quality standards, failed to perform and document inspections of the site.
Schwartze said that MoDOT didn TMt disregard the rules and had plans in place.
There were 112 pages of documentation we submitted to [the EPA], Schwartze said.
Scwartze said, back in May, the project fell victim to a deluge of rain, several inches in a couple of hours. The run-off containment measures already taken, including silt fences and rock dam traps, failed to kept sediment from reaching private property near the construction area.
MoDOT said that the EPA has not seen evidence that the runoff reached the streams that feed the Lake of the Ozarks or reached the lake itself.
However, the highway agency concedes the violation of its EPA permit.
Scwartze said that he is not sure how much the violation is going to cost MoDOT.
"That's obviously something we'll have to deal with EPA on, Scwartze said.
According to the EPA TMs news release, MoDOT paid a penalty to of almost $26,000 for a similar stormwater violation in 2005. The release also said the highway agency paid a penalty of more than $76,000 in 2008.