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QC discusses bridge problems

By John Miller, 07/10/24 10:33 AM

PRESCOTT – Most of the July Nevada County Quorum Court meeting concerned bridges.

Primarily bridges on Wildcat Road and the Landfill Road. David Gummeson, director of the Office of Emergency Services for the county, said bridges on these two roads will be paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as both were washed out during floods. He pointed out there were 11 more washouts on county roads totaling more than $100,000 in damage. Cale Road, he said, is a state aid road and will be handled by the Arkansas Department of Transportation at no cost to the county.

The Wildcat Road and landfill bridges, he told the court, will be 90-10 projects with FEMA, but the county’s part can be paid by in-kind labor and the use of county equipment. Gummeson said the county couldn’t mitigate with the state, but can with the feds. If the county went through the state for these projects, it would have to be rebuilt the way it was before the damage. In both cases, this would require going back with culverts.

By going with the federal government, he said, mitigation is possible and the projects can be done faster, though they’ll cost more. Wildcat Road had seven 60-inch culverts wash out, Gummeson told the court, and these will likely be replaced with steel box culverts. The washout at the landfill road occurred in a curve and, he said, is costing the county money daily because people can’t get to the landfill. However, depending on the weather, both projects could start in the next two or three weeks and be completed before school starts. He pointed out there will be problems if these roads aren’t repaired before school begins so buses can use them.

Gummeson said the county might need to take out a short-term loan to get the work done and be reimbursed by FEMA. The proposed cost for both is approximately $800,000. An exact cost couldn’t be provided as the projects are out for bid at this time. However, the court voted to approve getting the loan so these projects could be expedited. As to Cale Road, he said the county has the option to repair it or hire a contractor, but either way, the DoT would pay for the work.

The court also approved buying a 2023 track hoe for the landfill for $140,000. County Judge Mike Otwell said the one at the landfill is worn out and he found one for$175,000 but the county will get a $35,000 trade in on the old one. This will be paid for with the $400,000 the county will be reimbursed from Union Pacific for the work done on the recent train wreck in Emmet.

In other business, Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, talked about the July 4 fireworks show, thanking the Prescott Fire Department for helping out. She said the Chamber is working on a new community directory that will be out in January.

Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said the rebuttal period for broadband is over and the county should know the results soon. She said there’s been inquiries on the industrial park and one at Potlatch, along with questions asked about properties at exits 44 and 46 on I-30.