Residents reeling after ice destroys docks

The Osage River next to Marina Road is no longer covered in ice, but residents there are no longer able to use their docks. Some of them don't even have a dock left.

"The weather's been cold and the river froze over, and Ameren let water loose," said resident Chris Rackers. "They dumped a bunch of water and the ice started breaking up, and tore our docks up."

At least five docks on Marina Road were extensively damaged. Ramps on some docks were twisted like a corkscrew, others had planks that were broken up and needed fixing.

Rackers described the size of the ice chunks as "half the size of a football field". He said since his dock was frozen in place, the chunks of ice washed over his dock and ripped it apart.

"We cabled them up harder, but bigger cables on them, but it didn't hold. The end result is, we've got a mess on our hands," Rackers said.

Rackers said like his neighbors, it will cost him thousands of dollars to replace his dock. His neighbor Joel Metzner said no one received any kind of warming that the floodgates of Bagnell Dam would be opened at 12 a.m. Tuesday.

"With the amount of water that was released by Ameren down at the lake, we've been through this before with them, we went through this last fall with them. Here we go again," Metzner said.

After residents contacted Ameren Missouri Tuesday, their staff released the following statement:

"Ameren is aware of the situation along the Osage River. As part of normal operations for generating electricity at the Osage Energy Center, Ameren Missouri continuously releases water into the river. Recent water releases have been consistent with operating procedures. Ameren Missouri has been contacted by property owners along the Osage River regarding property loss and is looking further into the matter."

Metzner and his neighbors say they will wait and see if Ameren will compensate them for the damages, but he said each of them face a price tag thousands of dollars high to replace their docks.