The town of Augusta has closed Augusta Bottom Road indefinitely due to liability issues.
The town will place barricades across the road on the Warren and St. Charles counties sides of the Augusta Parkway between noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, or no later than the evening of Sunday, Aug. 25 according to a press release.
Motorists are advised to use an alternate route.
The town plans to close the road even though the closure is not sanctioned by either Warren or St. Charles county officials, a spokesman for Augusta told The Missourian.
The reason Augusta is closing the road is because its former insurance carrier paid out a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of a Washington girl in 2010. That insurance company has notified the town that its insurance coverage will be terminated effective Aug. 25.
Since then, Augusta has obtained liability insurance through a different carrier, but that company said it will not cover the Augusta Parkway.
"The town can't accept the risk of not having liability insurance coverage for the Parkway and at the same time leave the Parkway accessible to vehicular traffic, Bob Hofer, Augusta Town Board chairman said in a letter to Warren and St. Charles county officials.
"The town does not have any authority to regulate traffic or to close roads outside of its corporate limits and is therefore reliant on your assistance to close the ABR as requested," Hofer's letter states.
In June, Augusta reached a confidential settlement with the in plaintiffs in a 2012 wrongful death lawsuit. The suit was filed by David Neier and Dawn Tucker, parents of Ella Neier, 16, Washington.
Ella Neier died Oct. 22, 2010, when the car she was driving traveled off a section of Augusta Bottom Road referred to as the Augusta Parkway, in Warren County, and crashed into a lake along the road.
The terms of the settlement currently are sealed as the case against other defendants proceeds.
Two other entities, Three Creeks Village and Franklin County, were dismissed from the lawsuit in February, leaving only the city of Washington and Warren and St. Charles counties as defendants.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants failed to properly maintain and improve the roadway, leading to the fatal crash.
The 1.9-mile bottom road sits atop a levee and provides a link between Warren and St. Charles counties.
The Augusta Parkway section is in Warren County but county officials have refused to maintain that section since it was rebuilt after the 1993 Missouri River flood with a grant obtained by the town of Augusta.
The city of Washington, in the past, has graded the Augusta Parkway portion of the road at the request of the Augusta Town Board.
But the city has denied the allegation by plaintiffs that the city provided gravel or granular material for the road.