2 of 3 lake crossings reopen as water recedes

After being closed since early May due to high water over the roadway at Bridges Creek near where it enters Norfork Lake, County Road 551, known locally as Smokey Road, reopened Aug. 16 when the water finally receded below the slab over the creek. Times photos/ Amelia LaMair

Although nearby Smokey Road has reopened after being closed since May because of high water, the Bridges Creek access on Norfork Lake, known locally as Stump Hole, remains inundated, and the boat ramp is not accessible.

The gates to Tecumseh Park on Norfork Lake are again closed, requiring those wanting to use the park for fishing or boat launching to park on the shoulders of Highway 160 at Tecumseh Bridge and walk to the shoreline and/or carry their watercraft over the rugged terrain to reach the water. The gates were opened on June 14 when high water made it difficult to access the lake at most of the normally exposed boat ramps in Missouri.

At their regular Monday meeting, Ozark County Commissioners said two of three lake crossings in the county that have been closed since early May due to high water have now reopened.

On the east side, County Road 551, also known as Smokey Road, reopened on Aug. 16 as the waters of Bridges Creek subsided and the low-water crossing there was revealed. However, the nearby Bridges Creek access area and boat ramp on Norfork Lake are still submerged.  

Western Commissioner Greg Donley said the County Road 861 “Steel Tracks” crossing over Bull Shoals Lake reopened on Aug. 19. However, Donley said, the lake needs to drop about 10 more feet before the low-water crossing at Haskins Ford on County Road 863 is safe to cross. 

Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers has again closed the gates to the former Tecumseh park and boat ramp, and those wanting to access Norfork Lake there must again park on the shoulders of Highway 160 approaching the Tecumseh Bridge. In response to the pleas of local fishermen who had no easy access to the lake during the high water earlier this summer, the Corps opened the gates at Tecumseh Park June 14 for the first time since the historic 2017 flood caused massive damage there, destroying the campground, shoreline and roads. 

At the time, Corps spokesperson Laurie Driver said the gates were opened “so people have access to the boat-launch ramp” during the ongoing high water. It’s not known what day the gates were closed again. Driver was not immediately available Monday for comment.

Ozark County Times

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