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FEMA repairs continue throughout county

Four months after massive rains devastated roads and bridges in the county, repair work is almost one-fifth completed and the work goes on.

Tuesday County Engineer Doug Cade signed the exit interview with the Federal Emergency Management Agency after FEMA representatives reviewed hundreds of projects the county wants federal funds to help defray the costs for repairs.

“We are waiting on several of those projects to be approved on a federal level,” Cade said. “Then we can actually get reimbursed on some of the projects and contract with engineering services on others.”

Originally the damage was listed at 102 landslides, 119 bridges washed out and 249 bridges with debris underneath them that could cause damage later on.

Each project had to be physically reviewed by a FEMA representative. Those projects have now been consolidated into 159.

“It was easier to do it that way,” Cade said. “It is a paperwork issue with them and us. When we consolidate projects, it reduces the paperwork burden on the local community.”

The entire repair work is estimated to cost $16 million with the federal government reimbursing the county up to 75 percent. The remainder will be paid for with a $3 million loan taken out by the county. Fifty percent of that will be covered by state funds after the work is completed. The remainder will be paid back to the county out of Cade’s Motor Vehicle Gas Tax Fund.

“We are 17 percent complete,” Cade said. “We are pretty much on target. Our guys have done a tremendous job to get things moving as quickly as possible. Naturally as we go along we will get more efficient. It is a repetitive process.”

Of the 159 projects only 18 will be contracted out.

“The remainder will be done with internal forces,” Cade said. “With repairing the flood-related projects, we are somewhat behind on our normal maintenance. We are making sure to prioritize out work that is critical to serious before regular maintenance.”