JOPLIN, Mo. — Something new is coming to a flood-prone area of Joplin. An area that sits close to where Joplin’s new elementary school is being built.

They hope this new addition will make it safer for residents.

“This particular location has a long history and people have died at that location before. For that reason, the city put up the gates in the first place,” said Dan Johnson, Director of Public Works Over Engineering.

The city of Joplin is upgrading its current high water automated gates system on Murphy Boulevard.

“Historically, that has been a problem area. Anytime you have a low water bridge, that’s an area that’s an issue. This particular location is close to the end of Joplin Creek so there’s a huge area that contributes to the amount of water crossing the road.”

The current system alerts the Joplin Police Department or Public Works of high water and they have to go there to manually close the gate.

The new radar-based automated gate system will alert personnel of high water, who will then monitor the water levels through a camera, and then close the gate remotely.

“We hope it’s more reliable. We hope that it interferes with driving a lot less,” says Johnson, “It should be a lot more convenient, it should be more accurate, it should be safer, that’s what we want to see out of this.”

The upgrade is costing more than $186,000 and is being paid for through the Parks and Storm Water Sales Tax.

“The new system sends out messages to not only city staff, but it will also send messages to some school staff so they can alert parents there at the new elementary school. So, any parents that are driving and plan to drop their children off will know that the gate is down so they can change their route accordingly,” said Johnson.

He also says there will be road closures when they are installing the new system.

They hope to have the project completed by the end of the year.