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FEMA wraps up public cost evaluations in Mississippi County

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CHARLESTON, Mo. -- FEMA has left the county.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's project specialist assigned to Mississippi County conducted an exit conference with county officials Thursday following the county commission meeting.

"They've completed all the project worksheets," County Clerk Junior DeLay said during the meeting.

DeLay, who served as the applicant representative for the county, said he signed off on the last half-dozen projects Wednesday.

A total of 77 projects were submitted to FEMA by Mississippi County.

Of those, 72 were classified by FEMA as small projects having a cost of $63,900 or less.

The five large projects, which have a combined total of $2,490,116.45, included four in the road and bridge category and one in the debris removal category.

"That was to get the bridge out of the ditch," DeLay said, referring to the bridge on County Road 310 that was displaced by floodwaters.

The county's other large projects were the replacement of the bridge on County Road 310, and restoring County Road 310, County Road 312 and County Road 520.

The 72 small projects have a total cost of $1,898,427.77 and include 63 in the road and bridge category; three in debris removal; two related to buildings and contents; and four for protective measures which were "primarily sheriff's department activity," according to DeLay.

Of that $4,388,544.22 total, $547,529.62 has been approved by FEMA and the funds sent to SEMA so far.

DeLay said the county treasurer received an electronic funds transfer from SEMA of over $400,000 Thursday morning with the balance to be sent as checks.

"We should get those by the first of next week," DeLay said.

With the exit conference completed, if the need for an additional project comes up at this point, "it's a lot more difficult process," he said.

During the exit conference, county officials discussed the possibility of enrolling the two large projects for the bridge and roadway on County Road 310 into an alternate project as the roadway is thought to be "beyond repair," DeLay said.

Enrolling for an alternate project would result in FEMA adjusting the project cost of $1,928,117 down by 10 percent. As FEMA reimburses only 75 percent, the county would have about $1.3 million to apply toward an alternative approved by FEMA.

One possibility discussed was using that money to purchase equipment for the county road and bridge department.

In other disaster recovery business, Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett said during the county commission meeting he would meet with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official to discuss claims against the corps for several county roads.

The roads were weakened by water from the corps' activation of the floodway and then damaged by the heavy dump trucks bringing in materials for the corps to repair the levee.

"It has torn them all to pieces," Bennett said. "The roads are so bad it took me 20 minutes to convince them they were paved roads."

The Corps is slated to begin repairs to the center crevasse next week, according to Bennett, which will mean "carrying loads over a significantly longer route."

While the trucks will be on county roads for a longer route, they will not need to haul as much material as the center crevasse is only about 700 feet long as compared with the northern breach which was almost two miles long.

Bennett said the corps has completed restoring about 6,800 feet of the 9,000-foot breach at Birds Point to a height of about 51 feet.

"Right now, they're building back the eroded part," he said, noting that it was roughly 10 feet the corps blew off the top of the levee in the first place. By bringing it up to 51 feet instead of 62.5 feet, "they're building it up to flood operation level."

At 51 feet, the Mississippi River will "naturally overtop" the levee if the river gets high, Commissioner Steve Jones said.

The river stage at the present time is not high, however, but so low that the Dorena-Hickman ferry will soon close down as the Corps reportedly does not have enough money available to dredge Kentucky's port across the river from Dorena.

Pertinent address:

Charleston, MO


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