When Lake Viking was developed in 1967, there were no provisions for hard surfaced entrance roads. All roads into the lake were gravel roads maintained by Daviess County. The county didn’t have any money to hard surface these roads. Traffic to the lake increased as the lake developed, but county road maintenance simply couldn’t keep up.
Notice the picture of the west entrance road, taken during the winter of ’73 by Lake Viking resident Norma McCaulla, who made daily trips to work at St. Joseph. This road had little gravel and was muddy and slick after rains. One winter, it was closed for a week!
Sometimes, Norma had trouble getting up the hill behind what is now the Lake Viking Sales Office. She recalls that she would hit the accelerator as hard as she could, while hoping she didn’t meet anyone at the top of the hill.
Lucille Foster, another longtime lake resident, and the late Ina Reznor made daily trips to Kansas City, at that time, when lake roads weren’t much better. Lucille vividly remembers that #*$!!# hill, as Ina called it. It was located on Lake Viking Terrace leading to Otter Rd near the west entrance. They didn’t always make it to the top.
Lucille and Ina lived on the west side of the lake, but the mailboxes were at the entrance on the lake’s east side. Lucille recalls getting stuck so many times, on a trip back from the mailboxes, that the Bridgeman’s wrecker finally just took them home.
In February 1972, Lake Viking Board Members and the Liberty Township Board met to discuss the entrance roads. County Engineers reported that 1,641 tons of rock were needed to provide a 1″ thick rock surface over the 3.7 miles comprising the 3 entrance roads. Furthermore, ditches needed to be cleaned and the roadbed crowned beforehand.
Cost of the rock was estimated to be $4,500, but the township didn’t have any money for rock. Their money all went towards a grader payment, operating costs, and operator wages. No decision was made on how the needed work could be done.
Efforts to improve the entrance roads led to a drive, by Lake Viking residents, to form a special road district. They successfully petitioned the Daviess County Court, and voters approved formation of the Daviess County Special Road District No. 1. The district maintains over nine miles of roads. Lake Viking Roads are not part of the district.
On October 6, 1981, the County Court appointed Robert Anderson, Fred Newman, and Ralph Leutenegger as the first Road District Commissioners with the power to levy taxes and issue bonds to improve or maintain their roads. Tax money previously earmarked for Daviess County was retained by the new road district.
By December, 1981 the Road District Commissioners and Lake Viking Board Members had agreed to a proposal whereby the Association’s maintenance department would maintain those roads, with the road district providing reimbursement for the work done.
This arrangement was to be renewed and reviewed annually, and is still in effect. The road district was able to gravel and grade the’roads, mow, and perform some snow removal. Money was still tight, however. Any thought of hard surfaced entrance roads was still just wishful thinking.
In the fall of 1987, a lake committee was formed to study improvement of the entrance roads. This resulted in an effort to have the Missouri State Highway Dept. provide a hard surfaced road from State Route DD to the lakc. This proposal received the support of the Daviess County Commissioners; many meetings were held, but it eventually failed. The Road Commissioners tried again in 1992, hoping that new fuel tax would spark interest in the entrance road. This effort also failed. MODOT never rcally had any desire to add to their road system mileage.
In April 1988, road district voters approved an 11-cent levy increase to improve the entrance roads. By August, they were seeking an affordable surface to the roads. Bids were taken, and the Road District selected Citywide Contracting Co. to do the job. The late Russell Buehler, of Lake Viking, was principal owner of Citywide. This project accomplished some grading and ditch work. A fly ash treatment was used in an attempt to stabilize the roadbeds, but this proved ineffective.
The Road District continued to work on the roads. By December 1994, a new rock base for the south entrance road was completed. It was re-surfaced in . June 1996. In the summer of 1997, a new rock base was added to the east entrance road. Right-of-way improvements and grading continued into the summer of 1998.
At this point, the Road District had spent half of the next year’s revenue to complete work on the east road, and was also in debt to Lake Viking. A $370,000 bond issue was proposed and, in April 1999, approved by voters. By August a new rock base had been laid for the west entrance road. In October a contract went out to put 2 inches of asphalt on the east and west entrance roads. This work was completed in December.
These projects widened the roadbed, removed brush, and graded back the ditch banks. It was necessary for most landowners to either set back their fences or remove and rebuild them after the grading was done.
Grading for the Road District was done by the Lake Viking Maintenance Department. Lake Manager, Bob Feigley, who was also a Road District Commissioner, remembers using railroad ballast from the old abandoned Rock Island Railroad line which paralleled Highway 6. The rock was donated by landowners Wilbur Youtsey, for the south road, and Wayne Burris, (of Lake Viking) for the east road. Ballast was also purchased from Nina Boyer for the east road. Rock was purchased from a quarry for the west road. The Road District excavated, hauled, placed, and compacted the base — all by using the Lake Viking Maintenance Crew.
The roads have also been chipped and sealed, with the east road re-paved with asphalt in 2005. These were jobs well done, and they greatly improved access to Lake Viking. With our special road district’s ability to fund such projects, the good 01′ days of dust and mud on the entrance roads are gone for good.
— taken from “Lake Viking 1967-2007: Celebrating 40 Years of Progress,” written by Norman Larason