Friday, April 29, 2022

Bagnell Dam Is Open!

Much to the delight of business owners, traffic across Bagnell Dam is flowing again. There is a weight restriction of 18 tons, which I believe is permanent, and will hopefully stop heavy large vehicles, like concrete trucks, from using it. They weigh about 30 tons when loaded. 

At a contracted cost of $1,611,862 (minus whatever penalty Concrete Strategies LLC might have had to pay for taking so long to complete) the question is whether or not the public got what it paid for in terms of need. The dam may belong to Ameren, but the road deck is maintained by MODOT. As we all knew, the road deck over the dam was in bad shape at the end of last summer. The increase in number of visitors, years of neglect, and just plain abuse from inexperienced drivers running up on the sides, had left road conditions in an obviously poor state. I say obvious because I know new visitors commented on its condition and safety as. more often then not, the dam was the first site seen coming to the lake. It's bad enough the concertina wire gives the impression of a prison wall on the north bend. I still can't stand the site of it. A higher concrete wall would have been better than that eyesore...but I digress.

The road deck looks solid now, and it's a smooth ride (except for the necessary expansions joints). The sidewalk is repaired and missing chunks of concrete fixed. How long will it last? Who knows, but it's nice to have our road back.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Welcome back?

It's been ages since I posted anything new. Covid, a new job, and personal projects all kicked blogging to the back of the bus, but I'll try and get back on the horse now.

So what's been happening?

Real Estate. The lake area has gone through one of the greatest transitions in its history over the past few years. The Great Resignation has brought a new crop of home buyers and coupled with a general housing squeeze from commercial purchases of vacation rentals, home prices both on and off the lake have risen an average of 30%. I'm afraid if you didn't buy property between 2012-2019 you're in for a bit of a shock these days. That doesn't mean home prices are too high, it just means supply is limited and if you want a home on the water, you best prepare to act quickly. We'll be talking more about the housing market in future posts.

Boating. The challenges of boating on the lake of the Ozarks have only increased. The influx of new visitors to the area means a lot more inexperienced (by Lake Ozark standards) pilots are running the lake. I'll be going back to my annual "Safety Report" to see if there's been any appreciable statistical change in boating incidents over the past couple of years. Almost afraid to look honestly. Here's a snapshot of the 10 year trend nationwide though, as you can see, as the pandemic kicked in so did the accidents. It's actually quite a dramatic increase, and we'll be looking at specific numbers for Missouri.

Source: US Coast Guard

Lake Levels. Perusing old posts will clearly show that I'm a nerd for numbers on tracking lake levels. Probably some vain effort on my part to better predict future conditions. I won't bore everyone by trying to post monthly charts for the past couple of years, but I will put out the annual report for 2019-2021 just to catch up. Lake levels will be pretty unexciting for the next six months now that we're through the maximum drawdown for 2022 and head for full pool here in a May so we'll make that a low priority.

The Casino. By now everyone has heard of the casino coming to the Lake. We'll have lots to talk about over time with that idea. My wife and I had thoughts of a riverboat casino below the dam on the Osage River back in the 90s but Missouri statute wouldn't allow it. It was very clever of the Osage Indian tribe to figure out a way to circumvent that whole issue. The powers that be at the lake seem enamored with the idea, and judging by the demolition of the property, it's full steam ahead.

There's much more going on around the lake to talk about both exciting and troubling that I'll be addressing as well.

My thanks to everyone that visits the site and who stuck with me during the hiatus. My goal has always been, and will continue to be, just an effort to help Lakers stay informed and be good stewards of their little, and often not so little, slice of one of the greatest lakes in the world.