Idle-speed zone is likely for Grand Glaize Bridge area


Mar 11, 2001
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Idle-speed zone is likely for Grand Glaize Bridge area

By Tim Renken Of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


If you and your boat go into the Grand Glaize Bridge area of the Lake of the Ozarks on summer weekends - and it seems like everybody in the world does - be aware that changes there are in prospect.

At 2 p.m. on a Saturday in a typical summer holiday weekend, that part of Missouri's most popular reservoir is so thick with boats that, according to local legend, a person jumping off the Glaize Bridge would be unlikely to hit the water until the third or fourth bounce.

In recent years that small stretch of lake has accounted for about 20 percent of the accidents on the lake. The lake's total length, including arms, is more than 120 miles.

The change likely to take place there is the creation of a one-mile-long idle-speed area under the bridge. An organization of local businesses, the Grand Glaize Safe Boating Association (GGSBA), last year proposed the changes to the Missouri Water Patrol.

It wants to make that stretch of the Grand Glaize Arm an idle-speed zone from 10 a.m. to sunset on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

In response, the Water Patrol conducted a mail survey of property owners in the affected area this spring and 94.8 percent of them voted for the proposal. So its implementation is likely, probably before Memorial Day.

The proposal probably won't reduce congestion under the bridge, but it will slow the boats going to and from Anderson Hollow Cove, better known as Party Cove, which is three miles up the Glaize Arm.

It is the lure of Party Cove, where thousands of boats anchor together, gunwhale to gunwhale, on weekends for huge parties, that causes the congestion. The partiers themselves are only part of the congestion. Most is from the craft, hundreds at a time from all over the lake, motoring up the Glaize and then into the cove to circle among the rafted craft.

The cruisers come to view the parties, primarily the topless and even bottomless revelers therein. This goes on throughout summer weekends, with the congestion greater exponentially on holiday weekends.

The group adversely affected by these festivities are people with property, primarily resorts and marinas, on the lower end of the Glaize. Wakes from large boats moving fast through the relatively narrow stretch under the bridge cause havoc with docks and slower traffic.

And, of course, there's the safety problem. In 1999 there were 222 accidents reported at the lake, with 30 of those in that first four miles of the Glaize. In 2000 there were fewer accidents on the entire lake, 178, but 33 happened in the lower Glaize.

That part of the lake has always been popular, but the problem began in 1996 when the partiers had to move out of a cove at Mile 14 because of housing construction. The new site chosen informally by the partiers was Anderson Hollow in Lake of the Ozarks State Park.

That likely will be the permanent location for the parties because probably there will never be development in that part of the huge, forested park.

The members of the GGSBA who sought and will likely get the idle zone under the bridge also would like to see the permanent idle rule in Party Cove removed and replaced by one in effect from 10 a.m.-sunset only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays May 1-Sept. 30.

That change was suggested to allow boaters who go into the cove on weekdays and during the offseason to proceed at a normal pace.

The new idle-speed zone, if adopted, would include the whole channel from a presently existing line of buoys on the north side of the bridge up the channel (southward) to the Moorings Yacht Club.

An additional line of buoys running from The Moorings Cove to the Temple Resort Cove would create a 600-foot-wide idle zone along that shoreline. Ostensibly, that rule is aimed at providing a safe passage up that part of the lower Glaize for small craft, but its real purpose is to keep high-speed, high-wake traffic away from the shoreline development there.

Water patrolmen estimate that it will take a boat 10-15 minutes to idle through the one-mile stretch.

Sgt. Paul Kennedy, Water Patrol safety education officer, said that the effect of the idle-speed zone would be studied to see if it improved the situation or made it worse.

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