Work to install base for Murphy Boulevard floodgates slated

Mar. 18—Work will begin Monday to prepare Murphy Boulevard, west of Main Street, for the future installation of planned floodgates.

The city will close the street starting Monday for construction work to build the foundation for the gates and install needed wiring.

The flood gates are on order and have not arrived yet because of supply chain delays, city officials said. However, the preparation for them will allow them to be installed more quickly when they do come in.

City officials have used other gates in the past that were placed at the Joplin Creek low-water bridge when heavy rains were expected, but they had not worked well, city staff said previously.

Public works officials decided to buy specially designed automated gates that could be opened and closed remotely for the convenience of motorists and city workers. In the past, there have been problems with debris lodging in the manual gates and delays prompted by the amount of response time needed for a worker to be sent to the bridge to operate the gates.

The automated gates will use sensors to determine when the gates should be closed due to high water and opened once the water levels recede. Prior to this, city staff had to go to the site to operate the gates, which occasionally caused some temporary delays for drivers.

"This project will make the closure of Murphy Boulevard in high water more efficient," said Public Works Director Dan Johnson. "We are looking forward to completing this for the community upon receiving the equipment necessary to finalize the project. We appreciate the public's patience with the equipment delays."

The City Council last May approved a contract with Joplin Industrial Electric for the construction of a high-water gate system on Murphy Boulevard. The cost is $186,496.

The current warning system involves using a float level sensor that activates blinking warning lights during floods. City employees, either public works or police officers, would go to the bridge and manually lower gates to keep traffic from using the bridge during high water. Sometimes the barricades would not be opened for a time after floodwaters receded.

Information: Dakota Rusk, traffic engineer, at 417-624-0820, ext. 1598.