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Flooding forces 100 mile detour

CHESTER (WSIL) — The Chester Bridge remains closed on Wednesday due to the rising Mississippi River. 

Floodwaters cover the roadway in Missouri, making it impossible to cross the bridge and causing drivers to take a nearly two hour detour either through Cape Girardeau or St. Louis. 

Crews were forced to close the bridge on June 1, for the foreseeable future. 

Coordinator for the Chester Emergency Management Agency, Charlie Bargman, said the city is very fortunate. 

"We don’t have any major infrastructure that’s impacted by the flooding and we don’t have to do any type of sandbagging or anything like that," Bargman said. 

Bargman said the city has seen the river rise for the past three months. 

"Beginning of May, I believe it was, with the fist round of flooding and it’s pretty much continued all spring and summer for us," Bargman said. 

Chester Mayor Tom Paige said the town doesn’t have any homes affected by the flooding, but some residents and employees are.

"Chester is built pretty high on a bunch of hills and for the most part, the residential areas are a long ways from the river," Bargman said. 

There is no water on the roadway on the Illinois side of the Chester Bridge, but it’s another story on the Missouri side. 

Paige said the people who have to travel back and forth from work that are impacted the most.. 

"Well it’s a big inconvenience for staff that work at Menard Correctional Center, that live in Perryville, or people that live in Chester and work over at Gilster’s," Paige said. 

Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation is a food manufacturer in Chester. 

A spokesperson from the company said their truck drivers are making that nearly two-hour additional trek, due to flooding. 

Instead of taking the Chester Bridge, drivers are traveling down to Cape Girardeau to cross the river, for the foreseeable future. 

The Mississippi River is expected to crest at Chester Saturday night at 45.7 feet. That level would be the third highest on record, falling behind the flood of 1993 at 49.7 feet, and the 2016 crest of 45.99 feet.

Click here to see a list of the road closures in our area. 

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