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Flood repair work nearly 50 percent completed in county

Less than a year after massive rains sent hillsides flowing onto county roads and washed bridges away, repair work on the roadway infrastructure is almost 40 percent complete.

“We are a little bit ahead of where we expected to be simply because of a very mild winter,” County Engineer Doug Cade said. “It has allowed us to get ahead of the game. We’ve been working on landslides but unfortunately sometimes our equipment breaks down. Then we move over and start working on bridges. That way we are trying to work our projects as efficiently as we can.”

The majority of the projects will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will cover 75 percent of the cost. State funds will pick up 12 and a half percent with the county paying the remainder.

Cade estimates total cost at $12 million with the county’s portion at $3 million.

Earlier in the year FEMA investigators came to the county multiple times to look over the damaged sites, consolidating them into 187 projects.

“Everything we have submitted to them to date has been approved,” Cade said. “Only a few we have not received word back but we expect those in the next few days.”

Some of the projects were also eligible for funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service or the Federal Highway Administration.

“When another federal program is eligible, FEMA defers to that program,” Cade said.

Among those will be two slides on County Road 15 at the 7-mile marker and County Road 4 at the 4.5-mile maker. Both are expected to be put out to bid soon at a cost of $400,000 each.

Most of the projects are being handled by county crews, but larger projects will be contracted out.

“We had the largest amount of damage in any part of the state, the largest number of projects and the largest amount of money,” Cade said. “We still have a long ways to go to get all the roads back to pre-flood condition. But the boys have done a great job to get where we are now.”