But it won’t have to find the money this year.
At one time, it looked like the federal government would cover the entire cost. That, though, would have required the project to be done by Oct. 14. The county was ready to hire a contractor to do the work by then, before learning the job had to be bid.
With the loan, the work probably won’t be done until fall 2012, Weismantel said.
She told commissioners that if the road were to go underwater again next year, as it was for much of this year, and a disaster were proclaimed, the entire price of the grade raise would be covered by the federal government. But it’s not certain whether that will happen, so the commission decided to move ahead with the loan option.
A portion of County Road 23 west of County Road 6 will be raised 3 feet. The estimated cost is $395,000.
Because the road is on what’s called the the Federal Aid Secondary Highway System, it’s not eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. But the county can be reimbursed for emergency work it pays for up front. That repayment, though, can take as long as five years under the Federal Aid Secondary Highway System program. With the loan, the county doesn’t have to front the cost right away. Weismantel said that helps the highway department’s cash flow.
A shorter stretch of County Road 23 just east of the 1,600-foot portion will be raised 3 feet at the same time. However, the county will have to pay the entire cost of that project — an estimated $167,000 — because it doesn’t qualify as an emergency project.
Weismantel said she is still waiting to hear from FEMA about whether it will cover the cost of raising a short portion of County Road 2 south of County Road 23. If OK’d, FEMA would pay for 75 percent of the cost, the state would pay for an additional 10 percent and the county would pay 15 percent. The estimated cost is $178,000.
In other road-related news, commissioners learned that a bridge on County Road 5, just east of the McPherson County line, will be bid next year and rebuilt in 2013. The bridge is currently restricted to one lane of traffic.
The estimated cost to rebuild it in 1997 was roughly $800,000, Weismantel said. Commissioners expect that total will be considerably more now.
The county will have to pay 20 percent of the reconstruction costs while the federal government pays 80 percent. Weismantel said the county could also have to pay about $45,000 in new engineering costs.