Summary: During the DR-1159 incident period, a 50-to-65 foot section of the roadway embankment at 7825 West Mercer Way in the City of Mercer Island (City) failed, and slid toward a private drive and residences. DSR 73592 was prepared for $27,979 to fund restoration of the embankment with rock fill at the toe and on the slope. The City did not concur with the scope of work in the DSR, asserting that rock fill would not satisfactorily repair the embankment, and would present a danger to homeowners during construction and afterwards. To avoid further failures and to protect property, the City completed construction of a 135-foot soldier pile wall. In its first appeal of the scope of the DSR, the City stated that FEMA's determination that the soldier pile wall was not cost effective was made using an unrealistic (low) cost estimate of the rock fill option as a comparison. Because of this, the City stated that the soldier pile wall should have been considered a viable repair option. FEMA Region X denied the first appeal, stating that the City was only eligible for FEMA funded restoration of the embankment by the most cost effective manner possible to return the road and embankment only to its pre-disaster design and function. The region stated that the soldier pile wall was an improved project, and was longer than the extent of slope damages. In its second appeal the City asserts that the costs for the rock fill restoration were underestimated on the DSR, and according to its geotechnical consultant, an adequate rock wall repair would have cost as much as the soldier pile option. The City further states that the wall was 135 feet long because it restored the area that was damaged as proven on photos in FEMA's possession. In addition, the City's geotechnical consultant stated that the rock fill option would not have provided an adequate safety factor in repairing the embankment. The City is requesting $103,329 for the completed soldier-pile retaining wall.
Was the approved scope of work in DSR 73592 adequate to safely restore the road embankment to its predisaster design and function?
Is the city eligible for funding of the 135-foot soldier pile wall restoration?
No. The scope of work on the DSR was preliminary in nature, and did not take a number of necessary scope items and site conditions into account, including some relevant geotechnical data.
No. The applicant constructed a soldier pile retaining wall in the place of a compacted earth embankment, representing a significant improvement. The applicant is eligible for additional funds ($ 47,167) to cover only the deficiencies in the original scope of work.
Rationale: Pursuant to 44 CFR 206.226, work to restore an eligible facility to its pre-disaster function is eligible for FEMA Public Assistance funding. Therefore, work that exceeds the pre-disaster design and function, or work that goes beyond the extent of disaster damage is not eligible for FEMA funding.