FEMA finally signs off on Marion County’s alternate bridge proposal

FEMA finally signs off on Marion County’s alternate bridge proposal

MECO Engineering to Continue with Bridge Design

Construction of a new Marion County bridge with the help of federal funds will be moving forward after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave the project its blessing earlier this month.

The project is like none the county has sought funding for previously since the bridge to be replaced – on County Road 104 – is not in the same location as the span for which the county plans to use the federal compensation – on County Road 117. The 124-foot County Road 117 bridge was swept away during July 2015 flooding. The Marion County Commission proposed using federal compensation to help pay for the new County Road 104 bridge because the daily traffic volume across the County Road 117 span was low, and the projected cost of replacing the bridge ($800,000 and $1 million) was high.

The existing County Road 104 bridge, which was built in 1925, has a 13-ton weight limit.According to Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner, FEMA has approved $83,442.83 for the new bridge. The remaining cost of the new structure will be covered by county capital improvement sales tax funds.

Whatever amount the county winds up paying to complete the County Road 104 bridge, Marion County will be able to apply for “soft match” credits for the Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) program, which is administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

When a county pays for all or part of the cost of a replacement bridge that expense is considered “soft match” money which can then be applied as the 20 percent local match required by the BRO program, provided the “soft match” bridge is built to state specifications. While waiting for FEMA’s funding decision the county has been busy on other fronts related to the project.

Because the County Commission had already identified the County Road 104 bridge as another priority span to be replaced, regardless of the availability of federal funds, MECO Engineering has already been doing design work on the new structure.

In March the county announced that Marilyn Wenneker had signed the documents necessary to donate the right of way and temporary easement the county needs for the County Road 104 bridge, which is called the Wenneker Bridge.

Teya Stice, county coordinator, has already begun pursuing the permits necessary to push forward.

“We have to have all our permits, but we always have to have those anyway,” she said during the April 10 meeting of the County Commission at the courthouse in Palmyra.

Avoiding lag times will be essential to the project, according to Stice.

“We have to have it done by Nov. 30,” she said. The seven month off deadline does not have Stice fretting.

“We can file for an extension to get the project completed,” said Stice.

By Danny Henley
Hannibal Courier-Post reporter

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